Wednesday, October 30, 2013

U.N. Reviews Military Tribunals...

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Military tribunals, convened outside the civilian justice system, need to conform to basic standards for due process, a U.N. rights official said from Geneva.
Gabriela Knaul, U.N. special envoy on judicial independence, said U.N. member states need to enact tighter principles to govern military tribunals.
"Irrespective of their military status, these tribunals must be an integral part of the general judicial system," she said in a statement Monday. "It is also essential to ensure that military tribunals are compatible with human rights standards, including the respect of the right to a fair trial and due process guarantees."
Amnesty International in June said a military tribunal in Indonesia was being used to shield human rights violators from the rule of law. The rights group said a trial for 12 soldiers accused of the extrajudicial execution of four detainees was a sham.
Human Rights Watch, in a separate statement, said it's "convinced" the use of military commissions to try suspected terrorists at the U.S. Navy's detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a serious error. It said the justice system there is "substandard."
Knaul did not single out any particular system in her statements. She served as a Brazilian judge before starting service with the United Nations in 2009.

Read more:

Khadr's doctor speaks out....

Khadr's doctor, retired U. S. General Stephen Xenakis, spoke out about the treatment of his patient Omar Khadr in Edmonton yesterday. The whole notion that this young man who was arrested at age 15 and had to plead guilty to charges- some of which were not even a crime at the time- to get out of the hell hole commonly known as Guantanamo is beyond the pale. My Canadian friends---Please don't let your country start mimicking the worst of our traits here in the U. S. ---or I guess I should say Please don't let your country continue to mimic our worst traits....
Read more about the good general here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

General and Systematic violation of Human Rights.......

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Monday demanded the United States explain abuses allegedly committed at Guantanamo prison, especially its practice of force-feeding inmates on hunger strike.
“The information we have indicates that there was a general and systematic violation of human rights” in Guantanamo, said Rodrigo Escobar Gil, one of the Washington-based body’s seven commissioners.
The allegations of forced feeding of Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strike constituted “cruel and inhumane treatment,” he added.
Read the rest HERE

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ohhhhh Canada....

Shame on you.

Court denies former Guantanamo detainee's transfer
(AFP) – 3 days ago  
Ottawa — A Canadian court on Friday denied former Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr's transfer from a maximum to a minimum security prison where he might be eligible for parole.
Khadr, now 27, sought to have his detention in a federal penitentiary for dangerous criminals in Edmonton declared illegal.
His lawyer Dennis Edney argued that because Khadr was 15 at the time of his offenses he should be jailed in a more comfortable provincial correctional facility for petty criminals and youth offenders.
But Canada's government opposed the move, calling it an attempt to lessen his punishment.
In his ruling, Judge John Rooke said the case was "not about any determination of the level of punishment," but rather a simple interpretation of legislation on housing prisoners transferred from abroad.
"The interpretation by the CSC (Correctional Services of Canada) that Mr. Khadr should be placed in a penitentiary is the correct statutory interpretation," he said.
The broader implication for Khadr is that it will be harder for him to obtain early release as long as he is classified a maximum-security risk by his jailers.
Edney told public broadcaster CBC that he would appeal the decision.
He noted that the United States and others have deemed Khadr to be a minimum security risk, and "posed no violent threat to anybody."
The lawyer lamented that as long as Khadr is designated a maximum security risk by Canadian authorities "that he will never get out of prison before his time's up."
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney welcomed the ruling, saying Khadr had "pleaded guilty to heinous crimes."
Khadr was repatriated to Canada in September 2012 after spending 10 years in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba following his arrest in Afghanistan as a teenager in 2002.
He was sentenced to eight years in 2010 following a military hearing in which he agreed to plead guilty to murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying.
The murder charge related to a grenade attack that killed a US soldier.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fed's decide not to oppose habeas petition for Sudan prisoner

Ibrahim Idris has been held for 11 years- he has severe physical and mental illnesses and the government has known this for 11 years. Finally the government has agreed to "not oppose" his habeas petition--Read more HERE.

And congrats to the lawyer team at Debevoise for their hard fought battle.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

From My Friends Down Under At Justinian....


Israel given unfiltered NSA data ... All phone calls in the US are "relevant to terrorism" ... Defence contractor successfully sues torture victims for costs ... NY designates city mosques as "terrorism enterprises" ... US Supremes in need of a code of conduct ... Nixon on judicial appointments ... Roger Fitch files from the town in the process of shutting down 

CONFLATING war with civilian terrorism in order to justify indefinite military detention is still a popular pastime of the US government.
A critical study of America's other Guantánamo - Bagram prison in Afghanistan, which holds non-Afghans - mainly Pakistanis - has been released by the human rights law firm Justice Project Pakistan.  
At the moment, non-Afghan Bagram prisoners have three habeas claims in court in the DC Circuit for the second time.  
There's more here on Maqaleh and other non-Afghans held in Afghanistan, some taken to a war zone for the express purpose of defeating their habeas claims. 
One of the petitioners, the Pakistani Amanatullah, was removed from occupied Iraq to Afghanistan.
According to British courts who heard the case of the similarly-situated Bagram prisonerRahmatullah that's a war crime.  
Scotusblog has more on the DC cases. 
Some prisoners of the US who remained in occupied Iraq - in accordance with the Geneva Conventions - were left to the tender mercy of mercenary interrogators at the Abu Ghraib prison.
A few brought civil suits in the US for their mistreatment. Recently, these plaintiffs unexpectedly lost their suit, based on the trial judge's contentious interpretation of the Supreme Court's recent Kiobel decision (see post of July 2013) on the scope of the Alien Tort Statute.
The triumphant defence contractor CACI International, who provided the contract "interrogation services" at Abu Ghraib, had the chutzpah to counter-sue the torture victims for costs, and they've been granted.
There's background here and here, plus earlier posts on the case here and here


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Update...

Some things that went on last week while I was busy with other things....

Omar Khadr has been moved out of the prison where he was being kept in solitary confinement---now he is in a different prison in Alberta... read more here.

The full D.C. Circuit Court heard arguments yesterday on whether or not it is lawful in this here country to convict individuals of crimes that were not crimes at the time (we in the lawyer biz call those ex post facto laws and our constitution forbids them)...sigh.
Read more here.