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Morning Bell: The Laws of War and Non-State Actors

Posted By Conn Carroll On February 12, 2008 @ 9:25 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

The Pentagon’s decision to charge six Guantanamo Bay detainees with murder and war crimes for the 9/11 attacks is definitely unprecedented [1], but no less so then the situation the United States faced after repeated attack by al-Qaeda. Never before had the U.S. faced prolonged and coordinated conflict with a non-state actor. Since the existing legal framework for the laws of war, the Geneva Conventions, only applied to state actors, any action the U.S. took in regards to treatment of al-Qaeda prisoners would have set new precedent.

To help guide those interested in the facts and legal history of detainee treatment, The Heritage Foundation has created an in depth resource guide called “Detention of the Enemy During Wartime [2].” Topics addressed with their own independent chapters include: a history on the law of war [3] stretching from before the Geneva Conventions to the present day; a comprehensive list of al-Qaeda declarations of war [4] against the U.S.; a review of international responses [5] to 9/11; a detailed examination of the statutes and legal decisions [6] that comprise the legal basis for U.S. detention policies; a side-by-side comparison [7] of the rights and protections afforded detainees by the Military Commissions Act, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and war crime tribunals like the International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia; and a photo tour [8] of Guantanamo Bay.

Verdicts for the six cases filed Monday are not likely to come before President Bush leaves office [9]. There will also be many detainees held both at Guantanamo and other facilities throughout the world in 2009 and in years to come. Our country will only benefit from an informed debate on these issues.

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Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/02/12/morning-bell-the-laws-of-war-and-non-state-actors/

URLs in this post:

[1] unprecedented: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gAOVFloe9OBom5n5s2Q71upc2EoQD8UOBGFG1

[2] Detention of the Enemy During Wartime: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/

[3] a history on the law of war: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/ArmedConflict.cfm

[4] list of al-Qaeda declarations of war: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/AlQaedaDeclarations.cfm

[5] international responses: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/ResponseTo9-11.cfm

[6] examination of the statutes and legal decisions: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/DetentionPolicy.cfm

[7] side-by-side comparison: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/MilitaryCommissions.cfm

[8] photo tour: http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/enemydetention/PhotoTour.cfm

[9] not likely to come before President Bush leaves office: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hZXxZ9jWlnYZ5G_1_W_-FG8F2vHwD8UOLQ280

[10] surpassing the historic 19th-century peak: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/us/12immig.html?ref=us

[11] rapid growth in the nation’s older population is likely to put huge pressure on the cost of government safety-net programs: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-aging12feb12,1,5820291.story

[12] protests in front of Berkeley City Hall: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-marines12feb12,0,5889483,print.story

[13] New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/us/12arizona.html?hp

[14] a pause in American troop reductions in Iraq: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/world/middleeast/12gates.html?ref=todayspaper

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