One thing that Marty Lederman points out is that the Administration was wrong in their opinion that certain parts of the Geneva Convention did not apply to the treatment of detainees. Specifically, Article III and its strictures against physical torture as well as “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” I’m not exactly sure what this means but it seems to me that it could make Bush and Rumsfeld possible war criminals.
If the Court insists that the US government should be following the Geneva convention while all these years the Administration has been practicing interrogation techniques that are now deemed in violation of that Convention, doesn’t that leave the President and the Secretary of Defense liable for their decisions in this regard and make them vulnerable to to prosecution by the World Court?
I hope I’m reading that wrong and if someone could enlighten me, I would appreciate it. Because in the case of charges brought by the World Court (not the World Criminal Court that we are not a party to), I believe Congress would be required to turn any defendants living in this country over for trial. Again, I hope I’m wrong on this but as I see it, this could be a possibility.
All of this could have been avoided if the Administration had been able to get together with Congress and come up with a regime that would have granted detainees certain constitutional rights. Senator Specter held hearings almost exactly a year ago about the hodge-podge nature of detainee rights and how it was hampering justice. At that time, Specter offered to work with the President on the rights of prisoners and procedures for the military reviews that determined whether or not a detainee would face a tribunal. For a variety of reasons (some of them bureaucratic), the Administration refused.
Now the Supremes have forced them to go to Congress anyway. It may be that many of those detainees will now be “repatriated” back to prisons in their own lands and Guantanamo will be closed. No matter how we may think it necessary to hold many of these men, Guantanamo had become an icon over the last few years, a source of friction with our allies and a visible symbol to the Arab press of American “oppression.”
We would do well to rid ourselves of it.
Andrew Sullivan asks the exact same question about Bush’s “war crimes” that I did. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought.
The fact is, I can see some Euro-lefties pressing the case before the World Court, preventing Bush from leaving the country after his term of office is over. And I wouldn’t put it past some in this country to agitate for handing him over.
But in the end, I suspect that nothing much will happen. There are so many genuine thugs that the Euro-left coddles and strokes that even they couldn’t act so shamelessly.