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AI report: “No substitute for habeas corpus. Six years without judicial review in Guantánamo”

Amnistía Internacional publicou hoxe un informe sobre o xuízo que terá lugar na Corte Suprema dos Estados Unidos sobre o direito a un habeas corpus por parte dos detidos en Guantánamo.

O informe leva por título “United States of America: No substitute for habeas corpus. Six years without judicial review in Guantánamo”. Copio e pego un extracto da introducción:

On 5 December 2007, the United States (US) Supreme Court is due to hear oral argument in the consolidated cases of Boumediene v. Bush and al-Odah v. USA (Boumediene), concerning detainees held in indefinite executive detention without charge or trial in the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The issue before the Court centres on whether the Military Commissions Act (MCA), signed into law on 17 October 2006, violates the US Constitution by stripping the courts of jurisdiction to consider habeas corpus petitions from the Guantánamo detainees. Embedded in this legal controversy is the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), an executive body established under an order signed by the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in July 2004, some two and a half years after detentions began at Guantánamo, to determine whether the detainees held in the base were “properly detained” as “enemy combatants”.

The CSRT – a scheme described by the administration as “intended solely to improve management within the Department of Defense concerning its detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay” – consists of panels of three military officers who can consider any information, including information that is hearsay, classified, or that has been obtained under torture or other ill-treatment, in making their determinations. The detainee, held thousands of miles from home (or any battlefield) and virtually cut off from the outside world, does not have a lawyer or access to any classified evidence used against him. There is a presumption in favour of the government’s information presented to the tribunal. Under the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), enacted in December 2005, judicial review is limited to a single court, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC) Circuit, and to review of the CSRT’s “propriety of detention” decisions.

Amnesty International is among the organizations and individuals, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a number of former US judges, diplomats and military officers, a senior US Senator and nearly 400 UK and European parliamentarians, to have filed amicus curiae briefs in the Supreme Court in August 2007, seeking to have the Court recognize the right to habeas corpus, as a right that is guaranteed to the detainees regardless of whether they are deemed to be within reach of the US Constitution. This companion report to Amnesty International’s brief outlines the international right to habeas corpus, a fundamental protection against detainee abuse and unaccountable government (see Sections 2 and 3). It traces the development of the CSRT scheme in Guantánamo, describing its origins as part of the administration’s pursuit of unchecked executive power in the “war on terror”, a pursuit that has undermined the rule of law. When the Supreme Court has intervened previously in “war on terror” detention cases, the executive has interpreted its rulings in narrow, cramped fashion and in a way that violates fundamental human rights principles. In so doing, and now aided by the DTA and MCA, it has flouted the USA’s international obligations and contradicted its own National Security Strategy and National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, which promised to put respect for human dignity, the rule of law and limits on the absolute power of the state at the heart of its counterterrorism policies.

The decision of a CSRT represents a potential life sentence for a detainee. As a federal judge has noted, “it is the government’s position that in the event a conclusion by the tribunal that a detainee is an ‘enemy combatant’ is affirmed, it is legal to hold the detainee in custody until the war on terrorism has been declared by the President to have concluded or until the President or his designees have determined that the detainee is no longer a threat to national security”. “At a minimum”, the judge noted, “the government has conceded that the war could last several generations”. In his State of the Union address in January 2007, President Bush reiterated that the “war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle”. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has since said that the “war on terror” will last at least another 20 to 30 years. […]

1 Novembro 2007 - Posted by | Amnesty International, Human Rights, Politics, United States

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