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5/23/2004

More Administration Undermining of the Geneva Conventions

From Atrios, the NYT has a scoop on a third (fourth?) Bush administration effort to carve out standing exceptions to the Geneva Conventions, this time for "security detainees."

"Professor Silliman, a former Air Force lawyer who heads the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke, said the response of authorities at Abu Ghraib to the Red Cross appeared to be part of a larger pattern in which the administration and the military devote great energy to find ways to avoid the jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions.

"If you look at this in connection with other things that are coming out, it doesn't seem like a snap decision but part of an across-the-board pattern of decision-making to create another category outside the conventions."

He cited a memorandum written in January 2002 by Albert R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, recommending that President Bush decree that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners from the war in Afghanistan. In the memorandum, Mr. Gonzales said that getting out from under the restrictions of the Geneva Conventions would preserve the government's flexibility in fighting terrorism."
The exceptions to the GC championed by the administration include: 1. don't apply to terrorists; 2. don't apply to people from failed states; 3. don't apply to civilians with high value information; 4. don't apply to people not formally under the jurisdiction of the United States. I'm sure there are more.

 

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