AfterDowningStreet.org – 2007-11-17 22:10:52
WASHINGTON (November 15, 2007) — Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an amicus brief in the first Guantánamo case before the European Court of Human Rights.
Boumediene and others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first case on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners before an international tribunal, where international human rights law applies and is enforceable. It is also the first case to address the issue of what responsibility other countries that assisted the U.S. in transferring men to Guantánamo have for the violations that occur at the prison camp.
One of the issues of responsibility the court will rule on is whether Bosnia has an obligation to do more diplomatically to try to get its citizens and residents out of Guantánamo, given that it helped put them there in the first place when it delivered the six men to U.S. authorities immediately after they had been cleared of any wrongdoing by a Bosnian court.
“If the European Court rules favorably, it will essentially be telling Bosnia that it has an obligation to get these men out of Guantánamo and to step up and recognize its responsibility to do more than it has been doing,” said CCR attorney Pardiss Kebriaei. “The ruling could potentially affect efforts to have other countries help with the safe resettlement of former detainees as well.”
Many countries are guilty of unlawfully assisting the U.S. in its “war on terror” by illegally handing people over to U.S. authorities, letting the U.S. use their territory or airspace to conduct renditions to torture or as sites for secret CIA prisons, and possibly committing other violations of national and international law. This is the first case that addresses the responsibility of a country for redressing these violations.
Among international human rights tribunals, the European Court of Human Rights is one of the strongest and most respected, and its decisions are enforceable.
CCR attorneys stated that a court order for Bosnia to do more to get its men out of Guantánamo is exactly the kind of step that is necessary to safely empty the prison and be able to finally close it down.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for the last six years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and – just this month – sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA “ghost detainee.” CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating the largest ever coalition of pro-bono lawyers in order to defend the men at Guantánamo, ensuring that nearly all have been represented. CCR will be representing the detainees with co-counsel in the Supreme Court on December 5.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
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