Editorial| “Guantanamo Must Be Closed”

posted on 12.18.2009 by

Editorial from the New York Times: The White House defied all the chest pounding and announced this week that the federal government would acquire a maximum-security prison in Illinois and use part of it to house inmates from the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Moving the prisoners is an indispensable step toward closing an extra-legal offshore lockup that has stained this nation’s reputation and become a recruitment tool for terrorists.

There are about 210 inmates in Guantánamo. The administration has said it plans to prosecute 40 in civilian or military courts, including 5 who will be tried in federal court in New York. Some of the others should be tried. Some, perhaps, once posed a threat but no longer do so and should go to other countries under supervision. Some should go free.

Sorting them out is a difficult process, and we are not happy with the way the administration has been deciding which prisoners should be tried in federal criminal courts and which should be tried in military courts. President Obama has yet to forswear the idea of indefinite detention without charges, as he vowed to do while running for president. And there are signs that he, like George W. Bush, will decree that the entire planet is a battlefield and anyone arrested anywhere on terrorism charges may be tried in military tribunals. [...]

More here.

U.S.| Illinois prison likely choice to house Guantanamo Bay detainees

posted on 12.15.2009 by

The Obama administration is expected to announce today that it has selected a prison in northwestern Illinois to house terrorism suspects from Guantánamo Bay. This comprises a major step in closing that military detention facility. Read more

U.S.| In Peace Prize acceptance speech, Obama defends “just war”

posted on 12.10.2009 by

Delivering his acceptance speech for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, U.S. President Barack Obama defended the doctrine of war for humanitarian ends, saying his recent decision to escalate the conflict in Afghanistan was justified to protect the world from terrorism and extremism. Read more

UK| A Moratorium on Secret Evidence?

posted on 12.03.2009 by

Editorial from the Guardian says the UK “government’s policy of imprisoning terror suspects without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence may now be over.” Read more

U.S.| 9/11 and Legal Obstacles: How Do You Defend a Nortorious Terrorist Figure?

posted on 11.14.2009 by

Following the recent announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian Manhattan courthouse, Eric Lichtblau and Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times poses the question, “How do you defend one of the most notorious terrorist figures in history?” From the question of a fair trial to that of capital punishment, to challenges that will ineluctably be made to interrogation methods used on the suspect during his more than six years of detention, the 9/11 trial evinces a host of unparalleled legal obstacles. Read more

U.S.| Key 9/11 Suspects To Be Tried in NY Federal Court

posted on 11.13.2009 by

The Obama Administration has decided to move the trials of the five Guantánamo Bay detainees suspected of plotting the 9/11 attacks from the Guantánamo military commissions to federal courts to face justice. Read more

Two Months In, Legal Debate Instensifies Over Goldstone Report

posted on 11.06.2009 by Lisa

The BBC on the legal row over what has come to be known in its familiar form, the Goldstone report. Read more

ICJ: Human Rights Council urged to protect judges and lawyers in times of crises

posted on 09.15.2009 by Lisa

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) urged the UN Human Rights Council as it opened its 12th session in Geneva on 14 September 2009 to establish a new expert mandate to improve protection of human rights of individuals in armed conflicts and generally in any crisis situations. The ICJ requested the Council to harness protection of judges and lawyers from violence and intimidation inflicted on them for their professional functions. It also sought accountability for human rights violations and international crimes committed by the Israeli Army, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups during the recent war in Gaza. Read more