Investigation, Prosecution, Remedy: Accountability For Human Rights Violations In The War On Terror


Investigation, Prosecution, Remedy: Accountability For Human Rights Violations In The War On Terror

  • Work with Congress to repeal Section 1004 of the Detainee Treatment Act 2005 (DTA) and Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Military Commissions Act 2006 (MCA).24 Section 1004 of the DTA (further amended by section 8 of the MCA) purports to create a sort of special "ignorance of the law" defence for any US personnel against whom civil or criminal proceedings are brought in relation to their activities in the detention and interrogation of foreign nationals suspected of involvement or association with "international terrorist activity". Section 5 of the MCA purports to prohibit anyone from invoking "the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas corpus or other civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States is a party as a source of rights in any court of the United States or its States or territories". Section 6 of the MCA purports to artificially restrict under US law the definition of certain war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. These changes must be reversed as quickly as possible. Further, although Section 7 of the MCA, purporting to end habeas corpus challenges by alien "enemy combatants", was declared to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in Boumediene v Bush (2008), the government argues that the section is only unconstitutional in relation to a so-called "core habeas function" of challenging the legality of detention, and claims that it continues to preclude court review of any other aspect of detention.

    • Fully reveal all administration legal opinions discussing whether interrogation techniques or detention conditions are consistent with the international prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, or defences to criminal charges that are inconsistent with international law including the UNCAT, and unequivocally disavow and revoke all such opinions or other documents that support, authorise or approve techniques, conditions, or defences that would be inconsistent with international law.

    • Amend Executive Order 13292 on Classified National Security Information, itself an amendment to Executive Order 12958, to make it clear that information cannot be classified or remain classified if, by design or effect, to do so would conceal past or current violations of international human rights or humanitarian law, such as the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, secret detention and enforced disappearance.

    • Declassify all statements made by detainees setting out allegations of torture or other ill-treatment in US custody, including detainees held in the CIA's secret detention program.

    • Ensure that legal counsel, investigators, and others, have the necessary access to those still in US custody in order to obtain information and evidence concerning human rights violations.

    • Work with Congress to repeal or amend §1101 of the National Security Act 194725 so as to ensure that it does not apply to any treaty or other international agreement relating to human rights or humanitarian law.

    • Revoke Executive Order 13233 of 1 November 2001 which purports to give current and former US Presidents and Vice-Presidents broad authority to withhold presidential and vice-presidential records or delay their release indefinitely, and work with Congress to establish procedures ensuring timely release of such records.

    • Clarify that the administration does and will not interpret the Authorization for Use of Military Force -- passed by Congress on 14 September 2001 and signed into law by President Bush on 18 September 2001 -- as representing any intent on the part of Congress to authorize torture, enforced disappearance, or other violations of international human rights or humanitarian law, or as otherwise providing authority for such violations.