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[Unlawful] Enemy Combatants?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Think about this strange turn of events...
So-called combatant status review tribunals (CSRTs) have conferred the description of "enemy combatant" on hundreds of suspects held without charge at Guantanamo.
But in a pivotal point for the judges at Monday's tribunals, none of the suspects still at the camp has been labeled "unlawful" by a CSRT, so legally they could be viewed as fighting for a legitimate state.
Which indirectly means that every last one of them is protected by the Geneva Convention. This also means that the prohibition against torture or degrading treatment would apply to them. Furthermore, anyone who causes their rights to be violated while in captivity would be guilty of a crime.
The third article of the Geneva Convention states:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
It sounds to me like someone [Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush] may be in a lot of trouble if the authorities come to the same conclusion as I have... but, probably not.


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