United States UN rights expert expresses alarm over military trial of detainees

The detainees were last week declared liable for a military tribunal as suspected members of Al-Qaeda or “otherwise involved in terrorism directed against the United States.””In proceeding to apply these drastic measures to counter terrorism, the United States Government is seen defying United Nations resolutions,” Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers of UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) said in a statement in Geneva.”These resolutions reiterate and affirm that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism must be in accordance with international law including international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law,” he added.UNHCR said the Special Rapporteur, in November of 2001, sent an urgent appeal to the US Government concerning the order establishing the military tribunals expressing concern over fair trial procedures, the selection of those who sit on the commission, and appeal procedures, which violate fundamental principles of judicial independence. The US Government has not responded to that appeal.

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