The Great USA now looks pretty much like a dictatorship to the rest of the world – it’s not a matter of “European fashion” as Bush would like you to believe. It’s a matter of breaking our own laws.
“Disappearances’ were a trademark abuse of Latin American military dictatorships in their ‘dirty war’ on alleged subversion,” said Reed Brody, special counsel with Human Rights Watch. “Now they have become a United States tactic in its conflict with al-Qaeda.”
International treaties ratified by the United States prohibit incommunicado detention of persons in secret locations. The Geneva Conventions require that the International Committee of the Red Cross have access to all detainees and that information on those detained be provided to their relatives. Under international human rights law, detainees must be held in recognized places of detention and be able to communicate with lawyers and family members.
Human Rights Watch called on the United States to bring all detainees, wherever they are being held, under the protection of the law. In particular, it demanded that the government grant unrestricted access to the International Committee of the Red Cross to all detainees held pursuant to anti-terrorist operations.
“Those guilty of serious crimes must be brought to justice before fair trials,” said Brody. “If the United States embraces the torture and ‘disappearance’ of its opponents, it abandons its ideals and international obligations and becomes a lesser nation.”