Justice Department Errs in Detention Definition

In a filing today with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice outlined its standard for the continued detention of the Guantanamo Bay detainees. The following statement can be attributed to Elisa Massimino, CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First:

“The Justice Department was right to recognize that it should not be holding prisoners as ‘enemy combatants.’ But the new definition of persons who may be held without charge does not differ in any fundamental respects from the old one, and it significantly distorts important traditional Law of War distinctions between international and non-international armed conflict. The concept of indefinite detention without criminal charge continues, and the class of persons to be detained remains ill-defined and overly broad. The Administration left open the door to reconsider the definition during ongoing interagency reviews and we certainly hope it will use that opportunity to narrow the authority and make a clean break from the policies of the past.”

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Published on March 13, 2009

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