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January 31, 2005


Torts and torture

Over at Opinio Juris, Julian Ku opines:

Strangely enough, the war on terrorism is providing a slight boost for plaintiffs lawyers specializing in tort suits alleging violations of international law. This week, the UK released four men who had previously been detained at Guantanamo Bay. Lawyers for the detainees are threatening to sue.

Peggy McGuinness is more supportive of such suits.

Julian also clarifies the district court decision that has been described in some news sources as finding the Guantanamo tribunals to be unconstitutional:

[I]t is more accurate to say that the district court judge has refused to grant all of the U.S. government's motion to dismiss claims by certain detainees that their detention as enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay violates the Constitution, federal law, treaties, and customary international law. Moreover, she also ruled in favor of the government on some issues we've discussed here dismissing some of plaintiffs claims for constitutional violations, finding broad sovereign immunity for claims under the Alien Tort Statute, and finding that the possible existence of a treaty violation makes their customary international law claims unnecessary.

For more of Julian's thoughts on the Alien Tort Statute see the article here that he co-authored with Berkeley's John Yoo. See also my thoughts on the topic a week ago, here. For more thoughts on torture and the war on terrorism, see the links Ted offered last week, which include thoughts by Andrew Sullivan, Marty Lederman, and MI's Heather Mac Donald. See also last week's debate between Mac Donald and John Hutson at Legal Affairs' Debate Club.

Posted by James R. Copland at 08:01 PM | TrackBack (0)



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