US report to UN torture committee defends terror detentions

[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] Thursday posted online a report [text] submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva [official website] last month in which the US argued for indefinitely detaining suspected combatants in the war on terror. The report relied in part upon the 2004 Supreme Court decision Hamdi v. Rumsfield [text], saying:

The United States is entitled to detain enemy combatants, even American citizens, until the end of hostilities, in order to prevent the enemy combatants from returning to the field of battle and again taking up arms. The Court recognized the detention of such individuals is such a fundamental and accepted incident of war that it is part of the "necessary and appropriate" force that Congress authorized the President to use against nations, organizations, or persons associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks. A plurality of the Court addressed the entitlements of a U.S. citizen designated as an enemy combatant and held that the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution requires "notice of the factual basis for [the citizen-detainee’s] classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the government’s factual assertions before a neutral decision maker.
The report also admitted that abuses had occured under US supervision in Abu Ghraib [JURIST archive], Guantanamo Bay, Cuba [JURIST archive; JURIST op-ed] and Afghanistan, but said that the US responded appropriately. A State Department official said Thursday that the UN committee would review the report later in the month, and that US officials would answer questions before the panel next May. Reuters has more.


 

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