International Law

ABA May Criticize Bush's CIA Exec Order


A human rights lawyer is trumpeting a possible ABA resolution declaring that a July 20, 2007 executive order by President George W. Bush concerning the interrogation of U.S. prisoners is inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions.

The proposed resolution, which is scheduled to be debated and voted on by the ABA House of Delegates early next week during the ABA Annual Meeting, has a good chance of passing, says Michael Posner, president of Human Rights First. The nonprofit organization was formerly known as the Lawyers’ Committee on Human Rights.

“It is noteworthy that the resolution has been endorsed by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, which has been supportive of many of the Administration’s post-9/11 policies and actions and traditionally has favored broad executive authority on matters of national security,” Posner tells The Raw Story blog.

The executive order, apparently geared toward terrorism suspects, was previously detailed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post. It “purports to define the CIA’s obligations to provide humane treatment under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions,” says Barry W. Kamins, president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, in a report supporting the proposed ABA resolution. “In fact, the new executive order appears to do just the opposite, purporting to grant the CIA authority to engage in cruel and abusive practices, in direct violation of the law,” Kamin writes.

Human Rights First issued a press release about a report by two human rights groups concluding that the “enhanced” interrogation techniques that may be permitted under Bush’s executive order are tantamount to torture. A recent New Yorker article details what the magazine says was previous U.S. torture of terrorism suspects in secret foreign prisons, as discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post.

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