Treatment of Detainees

August 25, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 29
Are suspected terrorists being treated unfairly?
By Peter Katel, Kenneth Jost

Introduction

The Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, and other terrorism suspects are protected by the Geneva Conventions and that President Bush had exceeded his authority in establishing military commissions for detainees' trials.  (AP Photo/Prof. Neal Katyal, Georgetown University)
The Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, and other terrorism suspects are protected by the Geneva Conventions and that President Bush had exceeded his authority in establishing military commissions for detainees' trials. (AP Photo/Prof. Neal Katyal, Georgetown University)

The Supreme Court recently struck down the Bush administration's system for holding and trying detainees at the U.S. Naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The administration had maintained that the Geneva Conventions did not protect alleged terrorists captured in Afghanistan and other battlefields in the five-year-old war on terror, and critics say that policy led to the use of abusive interrogation methods, such as “water-boarding” and sleep deprivation. The critics, including top military lawyers, successfully argued that the United States was violating the laws of warfare. They also opposed military commissions the administration has proposed for conducting detainee trials. Bush said the war on terrorism required the commissions' streamlined procedures, which deny some rights guaranteed by the conventions. The court's decision leaves Congress with two options: require detainees to be tried under the military's existing court-martial system or create a new, legal version of the administration's commissions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in War
Jul. 13, 2012  Privatizing the Military
Aug. 06, 2010  Drone Warfare Updated
May 2010  Confronting Rape as a War Crime
Jan. 2010  Truth Commissions
Feb. 27, 2009  Closing Guantánamo Updated
Jul. 2008  Child Soldiers
Sep. 2007  Torture Debate
Aug. 25, 2006  Treatment of Detainees
Apr. 18, 2003  Torture
Dec. 13, 2002  Ethics of War
Sep. 13, 2002  New Defense Priorities
Jul. 07, 1995  War Crimes
Apr. 26, 1972  Status of War Prisoners
Oct. 07, 1970  Military Justice
Jul. 12, 1967  Treatment of War Prisoners
Dec. 03, 1952  War Prisoner Repatriation
Sep. 07, 1948  War Trials and Future Peace
Jul. 07, 1945  Enemy Property
Nov. 20, 1943  Courts-Martial and Military Law
Mar. 15, 1943  War Guilt Trials
Mar. 30, 1942  War Atrocities
Feb. 02, 1942  Prisoners of War
Aug. 11, 1938  Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Domestic Issues
Military Law and Justice
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
U.S. at War: Afghanistan
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