Grey area in potential civilian prosecution for war abuse(s)...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, May 26, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Perusing the NYT, I came across an article discussing the potential of US civilians (ie contractors) being prosecuted/tried for any crimes commited w/in Iraq or in Guantanamo (ie prison abuse). On one hand, L. Paul Bremer extended broad immunity to civilian contractors and their employees, leaving them exempt from civil or criminal action against them by the Iraqi Legal system. Although, officially this immunity only protects official acts under contract, Iraq is barred from prosecuting even unofficial acts w/o written authorization from Bremer.
    On the other hand, as a result of US Supreme Court decisions, civilians cannot be court-martialed (subject to military courts), w/o a declaration of War, which has not happened.
    This leaves prosecution in US courts, under several laws/possibilities:
    1) Could be tried under 1994 law, that makes torture commited outside of the US a crime. The problem here is that the Administration has been reluctant to use the word "torture" in reference to various abuses, and would be equally reluctant to use this law...

    2) Could be tried under 1996 law concerning war crimes, with prosecutions for "torture", "outrages on personal dignity" and " humiliating and degrading treatment". The problem here, is that the Administration has decided that detainees in Guantanemo and from Afghanistan do not fit the profile of, or deserve the protections of the Geneva Convention. The detainees in Iraq do qualify for this protection, however.

    Both of the above laws carry stiff jail terms, and the death-penalty in cases involving prisoner death.

    3) Under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows "people employed by, or accompanying the armed forces outside of the US" to be prosecuted for Federal crimes carrying a penalty of a year in prison or longer, by US courts. This law applies to US citizens and Foreign nationals, but not citizens or residents of the host country. This law has only been used once, and designed as a stopgap in the 1950s to limit court-martials of civilians in peacetime, is still ill-defined. It also applies only to DOD contractors...

    There is also the question of where exactly to prosecute these people...
    There is also the possibility that the President could establish a new military commission to try civilians...although that is strictly theoretical.

    This all pisses me off...comments?
  2. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Fundamentally, these guys should not be there, certainly not as interrogators. They are an unregulated militia, to all intents and purposes. Anybody doing this work should either be in the army or at least in the CIA. You can't sub-contract torture, or even interrogation. This all seems to be a scam to get around military regs and the GC. It should be outlawed now.

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