Scholars’ Statement on U.S. Detention Policy
At the risk of contributing further to Ken’s angst about the coming post-Guantanamo future, I thought OJ readers might be interested in this latest entry in the public what-to-do-next discussion. Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law and Justice has begun posting a series of white papers prepared by various groups of scholars with recommendations about international human rights issues under the new administration. Of particular interest might be the Scholars’ Statement of Principles for the New President on U.S. Detention Policy, which addresses Guantanamo (among other things). Prepared under the auspices of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, the detention white paper is signed by, inter alia, Derek Jinks, Sarah Cleveland, Gene Fidell, and Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, U.S. Army (Ret.) (Irvine is a former interrogation instructor at the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School). Full disclosure – I signed onto it, too. For what it’s worth, at least “some” in the scholars group acknowledged the possibility of ongoing detention – consistent with U.S. and international law – for some of those currently held at Gitmo.
Some of the undersigned note that the new Administration, in its own review, may identify exceptional cases in which a detainee has not demonstrably committed a crime (for example, because there is a lack of admissible evidence to try the detainee for a crime), but the government has evidence to support its conclusion that the detainee has engaged in belligerent acts or has directly participated in hostilities against the United States. Continued detention of such detainees must be in accordance with the principles and policy recommendations outlined in this Statement … [and applicable U.S. and international law].
UPDATE: Lest my nudge back to Ken risk distorting the overall gist of the document, I should hasten to clarify that the signatory scholars were united in opposing “any effort to extend the status quo by establishing either (1) a comprehensive system of long-term ‘preventive’ detention without trial for suspected terrorists, or (2) a specialized national security court to make ‘preventive’ detention determinations and ultimately to try terrorism suspects.”