West Law Report

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: Implications for the Geneva Conventions

Posted in Geneva Conventions, Guantánamo, Hamdan v Rumsfeld by mrkooenglish on May 20, 2008

In the paper (Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol 20, Spring 2007) (.pdf) (9 pages), Regina Fitzpatrick discusses:

Last term, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), the Supreme Court of the United States held that the military commissions convened by the Bush Administration to try non-citizen terror suspects could not proceed as constituted because they lacked congressional authorization and violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice (“UCMJ”) and the Geneva Conventions. This Recent Development focuses on the Court’s analysis and application of the Geneva Conventions, the most comprehensive codifications of international humanitarian law.

Hamdan has significant, and potentially dangerous, ramifications for international norms in foreign policy practice and American jurisprudence during—and beyond—this interminable “war on terror.” If the dissent’s view in Hamdan were to prevail,3 the applicability of the Geneva Conventions would be notably limited, their domestic enforcement would be left solely to those responsible for violating them, and the customary international law they embrace could be altered.

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