INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION URGES TO CLOSE
GUANTANAMO WITHOUT DELAY
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, during its 125º Period of Sessions celebrated in Guatemala, issued the Resolution Nº 1/06, urging to close the Guantanamo Bay facility without delay; to remove the detainees in full accordance with International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law; to investigate, prosecute and punish any instances of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that may have occurred; and to take the necessary measures to ensure detainees a fair and transparent process before a competent, independent and impartial decision-maker.
RESOLUTION Nº 2/06
On Guantanamo Bay Precautionary Measures
On March 12, 2002, approximately 2 months after the United States began transferring individuals captured in connection with the US-led military operation against the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the terrorist organization Al-Qaida to its naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures in favor of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay requesting that the United States take the “urgent measures necessary to have the legal status of the detainees at Guantanamo determined by a competent tribunal.” The Commission considered that, without this determination, the fundamental and non-derogable rights of the detainees may not be recognized and guaranteed by the United States.
Since that time, the Commission has held three hearings on the precautionary measures and has reiterated the measures to the United States on four separate occasions. Moreover, the Commission amplified the measures in response to information indicating the possible torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay or the possible removal of detainees to jurisdictions where they could be subjected to torture. In particular, the Commission requested the United States take all measures necessary to thoroughly and impartially investigate, prosecute and punish all instances of torture and or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that may be perpetrated against the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, as well as to fully respect the non-refoulement principle under the UN Convention against Torture.
Notwithstanding this extensive procedural history, the Commission has not received information indicating that the United States has complied with the Commission’s requests. The United States has stated, among other things, that the IACHR lacks jurisdiction due to the fact that international humanitarian law and not international human rights law is the applicable regime in this matter. Thus, over four years after the Commission’s measures were issued, the legal status of the detainees remains unclear, and it is uncertain whether or to what extent independent investigations into allegations of mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay have been undertaken or what measures have been taken to ensure that detainees are not removed to jurisdictions where they may be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Commission is also aware of a report issued by five special mandate holders of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in February 2006 criticizing the situation at Guantanamo Bay and urging the United States to close the facility without further delay, as well as a report issued by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in May 2006 making similar recommendations.
Finally, the Commission takes note of the June 29, 2006, decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in which the Court struck down the military commissions that the United States proposed to use to try the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, based in part upon concerns that the commissions did not satisfy the minimum protections under Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions. The Commission is further aware of the follow up Memorandum from the Department of Defense of July 7, 2006.
In view of the forgoing, the Inter-American Commission, resolves to:
Washington, D.C., July 28, 2006