Noriega Wins A Stay of Extradition to France

by Julian Ku

BBC reports:

A US judge has temporarily blocked the extradition to France of ex-Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega to allow his defence to present a new appeal.

The judge told the lawyers to present on Thursday evidence to support their claim that France would not abide by a key part of the Geneva Conventions.

I think the dispute here is over whether France will treat Noriega as a POW. I can’t imagine that France will do so, but I’m not sure why that should matter.

One Response

  1. According to an August 29 report in the Washington Post, Assistant US Attorney Sean Cronin told the court that France had given “confidential assurances” that Noriega would have POW status.

    Under Article 12 of the Third Geneva Convention (POWs), a detaining power (the USA) may only transfer a POW (Noriega) to a state that is also party to the Convention, and then only if “the Detaining Power has satisfied itself of the willingess and ability of such transferee Power to apply the Convention.” As I understand it, the U.S. Government did not accept the trial court’s conclusion that Noriega was legally entitled to POW status, but nevertheless has treated him as a POW at his trial and during his 15-year incarceration “as a matter of policy.” He has been visited by the ICRC, been allowed to wear military uniform, etc.

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