FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REGARDING
TODAY’S RULING IN THE GUANTANAMO DETAINEE CASES:
“The district court’s order conflicts with a ruling by a judge of the same court two weeks ago dismissing the same claims made by other Guantanamo detainees. These conflicting rulings will ultimately have to be resolved by the Court of Appeals, and the Department will explore options for expeditiously resolving the issues.
“We believe the first district court to resolve the claims of enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo did so correctly, and properly dismissed the petitions. In particular, the court determined that:
·There is no basis in the Constitution, or in history, for according aliens captured by the military outside the United States and classified as enemy combatants ‘due process’ rights under the Constitution, based on the mere fact that they are confined-for operational and security reasons-on foreign property that has been leased by the United States.
·Even if the enemy aliens at Guantanamo could claim ‘due process’ rights under the Constitution, there is nothing in our historical tradition that would entitle those aliens to all classified intelligence information and sources used to classify them as enemy combatants-or to demand a lawyer to assist them in claiming that they were erroneously classified. Nor does anything in international law require such a result. One can only imagine the chaos had the Constitution been interpreted in that fashion when our military had custody of millions of enemy combatants and POWs during World War II. News reports that a number of aliens who were released from Guantanamo have rejoined armed hostilities with Americans and their allies abroad make clear that the President's longstanding powers to detain enemy combatants-powers that are threatened by today's decision-are critical to the ongoing war on terrorism.
·There is no basis for concluding that detainees who were indisputably not part of any uniformed force, and not subject to a traditional command structure, must be given POW rights under the Geneva Conventions pending a determination by a ‘tribunal’ on their status.”