US Submits Its First Report to the UN Human Rights Council
The report is here. I have neither the time nor the stomach to fully engage with it, but I couldn’t let paragraph 82 pass without comment:
82. The United States is currently at war with Al Qaeda and its associated forces. President Obama has made clear that the United States is fully committed to complying with the Constitution and with all applicable domestic and international law, including the laws of war, in all aspects of this or any armed conflict. We start from the premise that there are no law-free zones, and that everyone is entitled to protection under law. In his Nobel Lecture, the President made clear that “[w]here force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct…[E]ven as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules…the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.”
This is the clearest statement I’ve found that the US believes — wrongly — that the global war on terror formally qualifies as armed conflict. (Which is convenient, given the US’s intention to ramp up drone strikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen.)
I also had a nice chuckle at the idea that the US “start[s] from the premise that there are no law-free zones, and that everyone is entitled to protection under law.” That will certainly be news to the three men (at least) the Obama administration transferred to Bagram so they would not have the right to file habeas petitions, a move recently endorsed by the D.C. Circuit in Al Maqaleh v. Gates.