Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nuremberg principles for thee but not for me

A federal judge rules against four British men who were tortured at Guantanamo:

Without addressing the details of the alleged treatment, the judge said the officials could not be made individually responsible for it under the terms of the suit brought against them, since they were doing their jobs.
Just following orders...

The former prisoners were also suing Donald Rumsfeld, to whom this "defense" does not apply, but we'll have to look to human rights lawyers rather than reporters to explain the actual status of this case. Via Jan at Happening Here?, the Center for Constitutional Rights relays an even more chilling part of the judge's ruling:
Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all "persons" did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law. The Court also dismissed the detainees' claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that "torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military's detention of suspected enemy combatants."
This may reach the Supreme Court. Let's hope the justices retain the more robust commitment to the rule of law shown by participants in the peaceful but intensely serious protests around the world marking the beginning of the seventh year of lawless indefinite detention at Guantanamo. Eighty people were arrested at the Court yesterday.



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