Monday, February 13, 2006

U.N. Special Rapporteurs Find That Gitmo Violates International Law

Big surprise. The U.N. Human Rights Commission's special rapporteurs investigating Guantanamo Bay has concluded that the U.S. is violating international treaties on human rights and torture in its treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. This Latimes summary is not quite clear for the basis of the special rapporteurs' conclusions, although it does note that the special rapporteurs have based their report almost entirely on interviews with detainees who were released from Guantanamo. The investigators rejected a U.S. offer to visit the prison claiming they would not have received sufficient access (it is worth reminding ourselves that the U.S. has no legal obligation to admit the U.N. investigators).

I don't think this report will add much to the conversation about Guantanamo. This does not mean the policies they describe in Guantanamo are not troubling (they are), but this report does not appear to have any new information or access to any information more reliable than the press reports about Guantanamo. The rapporteurs, as I've pointed out before, have no particularly special qualifications in doing their work, nor do their opinions provide any greater evidence of what international law does or does not require.

6 Comments:

Blogger randomopinion said...

Indeed, no surprise. Prof. Ku, as usual, applies the highest academic standards when it comes to reviewing anything critical of the present Administration’s implementation of international law.

(A) “(…) This Latimes summary is not quite clear for the basis of the special rapporteurs' conclusions, although it does note that the special rapporteurs have based their report almost entirely on interviews with detainees who were released from Guantanamo. (…)”

Not quite. The Latimes articles actually says: “(…)The report, compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners, detainees' lawyers and families, and U.S. officials, is the product of an 18-month investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. (…)”

(B) “(…) The investigators rejected a U.S. offer to visit the prison claiming they would not have received sufficient access (it is worth reminding ourselves that the U.S. has no legal obligation to admit the U.N. investigators). (…)”

Talking about important reminders, from the same article: “(…) In November, the Bush administration offered the U.N. team the same tour of the prison given to journalists and members of Congress, but refused the envoys access to prisoners. Because of that, the U.N. group declined the visit. (…)” Think of this parallel example: You, as a student, can evaluate my teaching skills. But you’re not allowed to come to class.

(C) “(…) I don't think this report will add much to the conversation about Guantanamo. This does not mean the policies they describe in Guantanamo are not troubling (they are), but this report does not appear to have any new information or access to any information more reliable than the press reports about Guantanamo. (…)”

Same as (A).

(D) “(…) The rapporteurs, as I've pointed out before, have no particularly special qualifications in doing their work, (…)”

No particularly special qualifications in doing their work? Well, here’s the first paragraph of the summarized resume of Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture and one of the envoys:

Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM). Since 1996, he has served as Judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo and, since 2000, as Chairperson of the European Master Programme on Human Rights and Democratization (EMA) in Venice. From 1987 to 1989, he was Director of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at the University of Utrecht, and from 2002 to 2003 Olof Palme Visiting Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) at the University of Lund.
http://www.icj.org/article.php3?id_article=104&id_rubrique=13

Don’t you think you owe someone an excuse?

(E) “(…) nor do their opinions provide any greater evidence of what international law does or does not require.”

Well, if you say so, Prof. Ku. But then, after all the misinformation you’ve been capable of condensing in just one blog post, why should anyone believe you?

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