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July 11, 2006

Bush Administration Pledges to Uphold Minimal Protections of the Geneva Conventions

NEW YORK – The Pentagon pledged on Tuesday to treat detainees in U.S. military custody in accordance with the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions, as required by the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.  Two weeks ago, the Court struck down military commissions established by President Bush, holding they were inconsistent with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  

“The Bush Administration has now been told by the courts, and again by members of Congress, that the executive cannot act alone in how detainees in U.S. custody are treated,” said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First.

“We’re heartened by the overdue announcement by the Defense Department that all military personnel must adhere to the minimal standards of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. This is an acknowledgement that the Administration is bound by rules. But the devil is in the details. When the President disavows his memo stating that Common Article 3 does not apply to certain detainees, when we see that there is no more secret detention by any U.S. agency anywhere in the world, and when detainees are tried in accordance with binding U.S. and international rules – then we’ll know our optimism is warranted and that America is getting back on track.”

Related Links:

HRF Statement: “HRF Urges Congress To Use Time-Tested Rules For War Crimes Trials”

HRF Critique of the Military Commissions (PDF-344KB)

Former Military Lawyers Letter to Congress about military trials and humane treatment (PDF -17KB)

"Advantage, Rule of Law" by Deborah Pearlstein