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Monday, January 17, 2005

Carrying on the theme from last week’s posting on the legal status of terror suspect detentions I found this a good point, made by a Michael Chertoff:

Right now, much of the definition of the rules is being undertaken by the courts, in a more or less ad hoc manner. But we may need to think more systematically and universally about the issue of combatants. Two years into the war on terror, it is time to move beyond case-by-case development. We need to debate a long-term and sustainable architecture for the process of determining when, why, and for how long someone may be detained as an enemy combatant, and what judicial review should be available.

Indeed. But hang on a minute, did I write “makes this point”? Correction, that should have read “made the point”: the article is from December 1, 2003. And where have we got so far in the process of sorting these legal dilemmas? Not much to show.
Indeed following the recent criticisms by Human Rights Watch -whether you think they’re warranted or not- I can only wonder why the Bush and indeed Blair governments are not putting more effort into defending their behaviour. As I have tried to show with last week’s posting, and what Chertoff’s article linked to above shows again, is that there are strong and compelling arguments that can be made to defend Gitmo, Belmarsh etc. As I pointed out as well, I remain to be convinced either way. But why on earth the government isn’t trying to defend its policy properly remains a mystery.

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