Head to Head: Guantanamo Prisoners, BBC News
Editor's Note: In some of the arguments about how to
deal with "detainees" apprehended in the war against terrorism it seems to be
implicitly assumed that the "detainees" are guilty and therefore have
forfeited their rights. With that logic the principle of "innocent until
proven guilty" is suspended and the detaining forces are given implicit
judicial powers. Without the control of checks and balances between executive
and judicial powers a complex systems perspective would view this situation as
highly unstable against abuse.
Excerpts: (...) the Pentagon says the detainees are not
prisoners of war (POWs) protected by the Geneva Conventions and describes them
as "unlawful combatants" instead.
Human rights groups and some British parliamentarians insist that the
detainees should be treated as POWs. (...)
"The individuals currently being held by the United States at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, should not be considered prisoners of war, or criminals under any
accepted civil or military definition of those terms.
These "detainees", as they are labelled, skirted international norms and
abandoned their rights as sovereign nationals when they chose to participate
in the stateless pursuit of terrorism.", Jay C Farrar, Center for
Strategic & International Studies, Washington DC