Today the Council's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has issued a clear condemnation of the United States Government for the unlawful detention and abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo:
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights considers that, through its practices surrounding detentions at Guantánamo Bay, the United States Government has betrayed its own highest principles. Guantánamo Bay is not a “legal black hole”: international human rights law has at all times been fully applicable to all detainees and for those captured during now-ceased international armed conflict in Afghanistan, protection of certain rights may have been complemented by the provisions of international humanitarian law for the duration of that conflict.
On the basis of an extensive review of legal and factual material from a wide range of reliable sources, the Committee concludes that the circumstances surrounding detentions by the USA at Guantánamo Bay show unlawfulness on grounds including the torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees and violations of rights relating to prisoner-of-war status, the right to judicial review of the lawfulness of detention and the right to a fair trial. The Committee also finds that the USA has engaged in the unlawful practices of secret detention and “rendition” (i.e. the removal of persons to other countries, without judicial supervision, for purposes such as interrogation or detention) and that US proposals to return or transfer detainees to other countries in reliance on “diplomatic assurances” risk violating the principle of non-refoulement.
The Committee therefore calls on the US Government to ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights by remedying these situations. It further calls on member states to protect the situation of persons from their countries who are or have been detained at Guantánamo and to ensure that they do not contribute to and are not complicit in such unlawfulness. Finally, the Committee calls on the Committee of Ministers to transmit its concerns to the US Government, reminding it of its obligations as an observer state to the Council of Europe and recommends measures to ensure monitoring of the future implementation of the Committee’s proposals.
The FDP representative and former federal justice Sabine
„Unsere lange erkämpften Rechtsstandards dürfen auch in dieser Situation nicht geopfert werden.“