Soldiers who hand prisoners to US could face legal action!

More Human Rights bollux!!

Monday 29 September 2008 00:02

Soldiers who hand prisoners to US could face legal action, MPs warned

British troops who hand over prisoners in Iraq to US military personnel could find themselves facing prosecution, according to a legal opinion compiled for parliament. The finding has led to calls for the British government to rethink its current policy and investigate how the US treats its prisoners, and whether torture is employed against them.

Earlier this year the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition sought legal opinion from Michael Fordham QC on whether a human rights violation would arise under the European convention on human rights (ECHR) and the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA) if an individual in British detention in Iraq were handed over to US military personnel, "despite substantial grounds for considering that there is a real risk of that person being subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment".

The conclusion reached by Fordham and his colleague Tom Hickman is that an offence would definitely have been committed. If acted on, the opinion could mean that UK troops would not be allowed to "render" detainees to the US military until it was clear that they would no longer face the possibility of torture or ill-treatment.

What prompted the inquiry was a statement made in February this year by Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who was on active service in Iraq. In his statement, Griffin said that he was "in no doubt" that individuals handed over to the US military "would be tortured". He cited what had happened to those detained at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram airbase and Abu Ghraib prison.

The opinion adds: "UK forces operating in Iraq are potentially also subject to UK criminal law, tort law and Iraqi law. Notably, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it a criminal offence for a public official, whatever his nationality and wherever located, to commit an act of torture."

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee which commissioned the report, said there had been a number of allegations that UK forces had been capturing people and handing them over to US authorities, knowing that these detainees were at risk of being tortured or mistreated.

"I commissioned a legal opinion to establish whether the UK acted unlawfully when they were handed over," said Tyrie. "I now have the answer. The UK remains legally responsible for the subsequent treatment of anybody who has been detained by the UK. It is likely that British policy on this area is not only ethically questionable but is also unlawful. The government now needs to radically rethink its policy on this issue."

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal action charity Reprieve, also welcomed the findings. "We are delighted that the all-party parliamentary group has recognised the illegality of British troops handing over prisoners to US custody in Iraq, " he said. "These prisoners promptly disappear into an unaccountable prison network in which over 20,000 prisoners are held for illegal interrogation and torture. If it is confirmed that this has been happening, the British government must immediately reveal how many people have been handed over, where they are now, and what has been done to them."

Paul Marsh, president of the Law Society, called on the government to investigate what happens to prisoners rendered from British custody. "Extraordinary rendition has been used by some states as a means of bypassing the formal justice system," said Marsh. "To do so is a breach of the rule of law and puts individuals at risk of ill-treatment. The Law Society calls on the UK government to look beyond assurances from other countries and positively investigate and monitor whether individuals rendered from British custody are receiving equivalent standards of due process. It is time we returned to our values in the rule of law."
Once more up the jaxy dear soldier
Abu Ghraib is so 2004.
Another example of politicians simply trying to shift blame downhill.
Oooh lets not help the nasty Americans, complete non-story and does nothing but stoke the Anti American fire.
Ord_Sgt said:
Oooh lets not help the nasty Americans, complete non-story and does nothing but stoke the Anti American fire.
Lets pesh off one of our few capable allies some more.
Whoops - too late for this C/S. Oh well.................... :)
How, realistically, are the government going to make any ban on handing prisoners over to the US feasable?

Are we really going to have a blanket ban on handing prisoners to the US while our government goes to theirs, like a minnow to a shark, and demands to know the US govt's business? Because what the US does to enemy combatants, yes "enemy" as in "enemy of our soldiers, enemies of the west" not as in "poor little Tariq Shakaar from Birmingham who got lost taking in the sights and inadvertently ended up running round an authentic AQ training camp and shooting at British/American soldiers after he mistook it for a laserquest tournament and we must bring him back home and give him money as an apology" is entirely its own business.

Even assuming America does torture them, all that means is that between America's brutal interrogations, and the UK's apologetic granting of asylum and benefits, neither of us have got the balance quite right.

Soldiers are there to fight wars, and while the army is the fists of the liarbore government, the govt seem to have forgotten that politics come second, from time to time.

EDIT: this was another malformed and strangely confusing rant from Squiddly, who is quite pished off with this whole malarky, and felt like having a rant.
box-of-frogs said:
Whoops - too late for this C/S. Oh well.................... :)
Me too :D

I seem to remember putting about 40 POW's into a DAF that was heading off to a Yank POW assessment centre or something of that kind.

We recently had a very similar song sung by some civil rights wannabes in Canada. They huffed and puffed and forced yet another BOI and Judicial Review on the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan. Just google Professor Amir Attaran.

I want Attaran to come with me the next time we repatriate one of our soldiers in a coffin and tell their family that they rights of a terrorist are more important the right to detain them to protect our soldiers lives.

I wrote this letter in response to their idiocy, the same principles apply to cause du jour.

How not to help Afghanistan

In a recent Globe and Mail article, journalist Paul Koring once again stirs the Charter Rights pot that Prof. Amir Attaran (U of Ottawa) began in 2006 and revisited earlier this month. This time, however, the story is the self-appointed heavy hitters of human rights advocacy, Amnesty International (AI) and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

The author acknowledges the collective skill and ability contained within these organizations; one only has to view the roster for their Board of Directors and Officers to see evidence of the “Who’s Who” of the litigation and advocacy world. It is a shame that these organizations have chosen to question what Canadian soldiers should be doing with captured and detained members of the Taliban in a Canadian Federal Court rather than actually assisting the newly formed government of Afghanistan to develop human rights sensitive policies and legislation under their own right of colour. The BCCLA and AI have decided that the fight for human rights must be waged in safe, Charter entrenched courtrooms on Canadian soil. Plans are being made to launch a Judicial Review in the Federal Court over the Canadian military Rules of Engagement (ROEs) and policy of surrendering detainees, Afghan citizens or ‘residents,’ to Afghan agencies to be charged, tried and if convicted, incarcerated in Afghan systems. What AI and the BBCLA want the Federal Court to decide is whether Canadian policy, ROE and our signature on Conventions should also include any detainee under the full force and effect of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What I contend is that all that brainpower is being wasted in the way that too many assorted do-gooders waste their abilities – tilting with the wrong windmills. From their positions of great social and economic privilege, they can waste valuable court time to the exclusion of cases that may be more pressing. Cases that can not be heard because justices, clerks and transcribers/reporters are now tied up reviewing a policy that was brought to the forefront by organizations that oppose Canada’s escalated involvement in Afghanistan.

This is hardly the best way to take on the complex issues of human rights, international law, rules of engagement, and diplomatic policy in a country that is struggling to assert a new government and rebuild itself from a disastrous period of Taliban rule. Where in this present ‘case’ of human rights violation in Afghanistan is there evidence of a complaint? Are AI and BCCLA relying on Prof. Attaran’s unproven assertion that a ‘victim’ might exist, if they could find them – in Afghanistan?

To recap, the BCCLA is going to launch a very expensive action to the Federal Court, naming the Minister of Defence and the CDS as the defendants to have the court complete a Judicial Review of the policy to turn Taliban detainees over to their own government in their own country. The BC Civil Liberties Association, Professor Attaran and Amnesty International all feel that Canada should not be doing this because of what they read in a few government document and MP’s notations. There are allegations that three detainees might have been abused; no one knows because none of the detainees can be found, and none have even come forward to make a complaint.

It appears that these organizations tend to pick and chose which issue du jour they want to promote. Today it’s detainees in Afghanistan and tomorrow it will be something that caught the eye of the six o’clock newscaster on the wires. This particular issue is perfect, as it pits the big bad Canadian military and it’s even bigger bad government against the spectre of detainees that no one can find. And, it serves to raise the profiles of human rights organizations in a time where access to the Court Challenge Fund has been closed off and they now find themselves in desperate need of a sexy issue to garner donations.

One should ask themself the question: In all their advocacy, would any of these civil libertarians still feel compelled to protect the rights of these terrorists if they had to go face to face with them over say, a female attending school or a woman going to work? Which would they choose? Or better still, which issue would garner more positive press? Would they argue for the intrinsic human rights of a terrorist holding a gun to the head of a female schoolteacher or would they fight for the female schoolteacher to be able to practice her calling? Which issue one may ask gives sexier press and feel good presence? Right now the pecking order appears to be the terrorist and/or Taliban collaborator, not the Afghan civilian or Canadian soldier. Will these people ardently fight for the release of a soldier should they be kidnapped by a poor abused Taliban agent? We doubt that we’ll ever see this organization fighting for a Canadian soldier – although a soldier won’t hesitate to fight for the rights of these organizations.

One has to pity the next Canadian citizen that has an issue with any branch of government that is stepping on a perceived right or freedom. Their case just isn’t going to be an issue du jour as long as the BCCLA and Amnesty International tie up Canadian Courts with issues involving the sovereignty of a foreign nation to govern themselves.

What do they hope to achieve by all this? What if, the courts rule in their favour and assess that the Charter indeed applies to anyone, globally, who ever comes in contact with a Canadian aid worker, soldier, physician, diplomat, businessperson, or NGO, what are the far reaching implications of that kind of decision? Have we just made all other nations’ domestic laws subordinate to our Charter? Where do they (we) draw the line?

The BCCLA did not appear on the scene when South Africa was wrestling its way out of being an apartheid state, nor did they do much advocating for the end of racial segregation and oppression. They were absent when the newly formed South African government was struggling with the creation of their human rights based constitution where it had to acknowledge and include a provision to protect its citizens against torture. As a matter of course, the BCCLA’s absence in the majority of global affairs is remarkably glaring. Yet, in this instance, in Afghanistan, they presume to know better than the country on which all this litigation will have a profound effect. Even more stunning, is their arrogant assumption that they can fix Afghanistan’s very real human rights problems by using Canada’s Charter. What is needed is not a straw man for a client but some serious devotion in helping Afghanistan develop and maintain its own constitutional framework that bans torture. The Federal Court of Canada is not the place to do that.

If the BCCLA wants to effect changes in the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan, I suggest they do a fundraiser for the best of the best of their legal minds to be sent over in a contingent to lend a hand to the Afghanistan government. It would certainly make the job of the Canadian soldier much easier. A stable, human rights based country means everyone can go home.
That last post got my points out. Are we now meant to regard the entire world through the eys of British law? Does that mean if we take anyone captive anywhere in the world and hand them over to the Legal Authorities responsible for them, that those people involved could be up in Court for the Actions of the Legal Authorties in another State with it's own laws and legal system?

Mind you sidebar. If the Police hand over a British subject to, say the Greek Police, on a European Arrest warrant and that person makes a complaint of torture and abuse against the Greek Police, would the British Police who handed that person over be prosecuted under the law?
It is however fine for british citizens to be handed over to the US for acts that were not a crime in UK.

It is very strange this world!
Earlier this year the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition sought legal opinion from Michael Fordham QC on whether a human rights violation would arise under the European convention on human rights (ECHR) and the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA) ... blah... blah
Get a fcukin real job you slack jawed politico self servile time wasting cnuts!!!!!!!

The section of society who really give a fcuk about any of the above -> <- TINY.

The section of society who'd likely rather string this all-party parliamentary PC fcukfest up from the nearest lamposts for continuing to draw massive pay packets from the tax coffers while doing next to fcuk all and taking years to do it - FREAKING HUGE!!!
Grey24-7 said:
No more taking prisoners then, that should please the civil rights brigade.
So does that mean we should close with the enemy and just kill them, instead of trying to take prisoners? :twisted: At least it would save on the paperwork. :wink:

ishinryu said:
Grey24-7 said:
No more taking prisoners then, that should please the civil rights brigade.
So does that mean we should close with the enemy and just kill them, instead of trying to take prisoners? :twisted: At least it would save on the paperwork. :wink:

Yep, that's what I'm getting at, headshots all round, and the same goes for the woulded, in fact why bother to close with the enemy, every time you get a contact just call the US in right away with a dumb iron B-52 strike
There is a simple way out of this.
"Allow" the detainees to escape - right in the hands of the Yanks. :wink:

"We tried to protect them, but the stupid fcuks ran straight into a US patrol!" :twisted:

Works for me!!!
Lesleycape said:
There is a simple way out of this.
"Allow" the detainees to escape - right in the hands of the Yanks. :wink:

"We tried to protect them, but the stupid fcuks ran straight into a US patrol!" :twisted:

Works for me!!!
Something similar happened to someone in my unit in '03. In two humvees a bunch of USMC legal officers/JAGs toke a wrong turn into a village and were shot at then chased by several pick-up trucks.

They came onto a Challenger and some infantry who proceeded to fire on the trucks. One of the Marines, a driver, told me the Brits then 'beat the holy s***' out of the survivors before taking them in. Fair enough.

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