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July 12, 2006

"Trust but Verify" Bush Administration Must Be Held Accountable On Geneva Convention Pledge

"Human Rights First welcomes the long overdue announcement by the administration that it will adhere to the minimal standards of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. But in the words of Ronald Reagan, we should 'trust but verify,'" said Human Rights First Executive Director Maureen Byrnes. 

In the coming months, the administration and Congress must take the following steps to affirm our commitment to provide humane treatment to detainees and judicial guarantees to those tried for war crimes:

  1. Require all U.S. intelligence personnel to abide by Common Article 3 in detention and interrogation operations;
  2. Demand the new Army Field Manual on Interrogation clearly prohibit all forms of cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment for anyone in U.S. custody;
  3. Afford the accused all "judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people," including the prohibition of the admission of evidence obtained under coercion;
  4. Demand a clear definition of cruel, humiliating or degrading conduct; and 
  5. Provide all detainees held in U.S. custody clear legal status under the law.

"Implementing these five essential measures will signal progress toward meeting the United States' moral and legal obligations and help to restore America's tarnished image in the world," said Byrnes.