Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Jihad
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The ruling, a strong rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.
The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.
The ruling raises major questions about the legal status of about 450 men still being held at Guantanamo and exactly how, when and where the administration might pursue the charges against them.
It also seems likely to further fuel international criticism of the administration, including by many U.S. allies, for its handling of the terror war detainees at Guantanamo in Cuba, Abu Ghraib in Iraq and elsewhere.
UPDATE at 6/29/06 9:03:19 am:
By extending Geneva Convention protections to illegal, non-uniformed combatants, the Supreme Court has violated not only the spirit, but the letter of the Conventions. The clauses about non-protection of illegal combatants are specifically designed to protect civilians, from terrorists and brigands who would otherwise hide among civilian populations to escape justice. The harshest penalties are allowed for those who abuse this convention, up to and including summary execution on the field of battle.
Today the Supreme Court ruled, in effect, that there’s no difference between a terrorist dressed in civilian clothes and a uniformed soldier, and that civilians deserve no protection from war criminals.
UPDATE at 6/29/06 4:26:15 pm:
Allahpundit analyzes the Supremes’ Hamdan decision: Reading (Skimming) Hamdan.
The big news comes on page 75. It’s not opaque with legalese; you can manage it if you ignore the citations. The language Stevens talks about comes from the beginning of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which reads:In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:Afghanistan is a High Contracting Party, so the question for the Court was whether Al Qaeda operatives captured there are subject to the Article. Answer: yes. “But,” you say, “it says it applies only to conflicts ‘not of an international character’ and the war on terror is as international as they come.” Indeed — but the Court is reading “international” in its literal sense, i.e., “between nations.” Al Qaeda isn’t a nation. Which means no matter how global the jihad might be, so long as a jihadi is captured within the territory of a signatory to the Conventions, he’s entitled to the protections of Article 3. And what protections are those?[T]he following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:You don’t have to worry anymore about Sullivan treating fake menstrual blood or droplets of piss landing on the Koran as torture. Even if it’s not, it’s “degrading” and therefore, per subsection (c), illegal. There’s no condition of reciprocity in the Article, either: unlike a contract, which dissolves for both sides if one party breaches it, we’re bound no matter how many heads AQ hacks off and irrespective of the fact that they’re not a High Contracting Party themselves. Amazing.
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.