Europe must help US close Guantanamo: UK ex-AG Goldsmith

[JURIST] Former British attorney general Peter Goldsmith [BBC profile] on Monday urged [Independent op-ed] the UK and other European states to create an "international coalition" to assist the US in closing the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility as soon as possible. Goldsmith said he understands that some countries do not want to accept released detainees, but that he believes a lack of cooperation could prevent the facility from being closed as intended [JURIST report]. Goldsmith praised Ireland, Portugal and other countries for their willingness to accept former prisoners, but called on those who refused or offered only limited assistance [JURIST reports] to reconsider their positions. He added that while the problem may have originated in the US, it could only be solved with the help of other countries:

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Guantanamo the US was originally responding to an international terrorist threat as well as the need to bring people to justice for killing nearly 3,000 people on 11 September 2001. The means were wrong but the cause was right and past international critics of America's actions should now do what they can to undo the knot of illegality and shoddy malpractice that traps those still caged at Guantanamo. What's more, the camp's continued existence damages us too: as a symbol of the West's injustice and a recruiting sergeant for terrorism. It's our problem too. [sic]
Last week, the European Parliament passed [JURIST report] a resolution [text, DOC] encouraging EU member states to accept former detainees for resettlement, and last month several states indicated willingness [EU press release, JURIST report] to consider accepting detainees after safety screenings by the US. On January 22, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order [text, PDF; JURIST report] requiring the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp "as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order."


 

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