Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday, 22 April 2004

More on the US Supreme Court and its deliberations on the legality of the Guantanamo detentions

I wrote about this as my first post today (scroll down the page - 'Enemy Combatants' and 'Prisoners of War'), but there is a very interesting article by Joshua Rozenberg in today's Daily Telegraph (of which he is Legal Editor) which I think makes very worthwhile reading from a non-US perspective and from the country which is the source of English common law, even if the law in the US has deviated somewhat from this over the years. Of especial note are his ante penultimate and penultimate paragraphs:

The International Bar Association brief, written by Prof Vaughan Lowe and Guy Goodwin-Gill of All Souls College, Oxford, says that "international human rights law guarantees a right against arbitrary detention, which entails a right to access judicial review, regardless of where and when the detention occurs".

Another "friend-of-the court" brief written by Sir Sydney Kentridge, QC, and Colin Nicholls, QC, on behalf of the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association, points out that if Guantanamo Bay were controlled by Britain or any other Commonwealth state, habeas corpus would be available regardless of the nationality of those detained. Indeed, it has been since at least 1772.

- and his final parapgraph lays it on the line:

That is not to say that an English or Commonwealth court would necessarily set the prisoners free. But it would examine their status and decide whether their detention was justified - which does not seem a lot to ask.

- specially, I would say, from the country which has been one of the most loyal and consistent allies of the US for a very long time.

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