Rasul V Bush.~
U.S. GOVERNMENT | A resilient balance of institutions13 June 2008
Guantanamo Detainees Win Right to Challenge Their Detention
Washington -- Individuals detained as illegal combatants in the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have a constitutional right to challenge their detention, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 12.
The 5-4 decision in the case of Boumediene v. Bush was hailed by many within and outside the United States as a reaffirmation of U.S. legal values and a demonstration of the United States’ commitment to rule of law.
The large number of non-uniformed combatants fighting independent of any nation’s official military forces engaging in armed hostilities and terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries has posed a thorny set of legal problems. The United States, drawing on both domestic and international military law, has used the military commission process to protect the rights of the accused and afford them fair trials.
The U.S. military also has a formal process in place to assess each individual and make a determination about their detention even though hostilities are ongoing -- something the Defense Department calls “an unprecedented step in the history of warfare.” Since 2002, more than 500 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries. As of May 2, approximately 270 detainees were being held at Guantanamo.
But on June 12, the nation’s highest legal tribunal ruled the right of habeas corpus -- a Latin phrase that translates to “You have the body” -- applies to those held at Guantanamo. This ruling overturns a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA Section 7) that states no court shall have jurisdiction to consider an application for habeas corpus filed by any non-U.S. citizen detainee.
The Supreme Court’s majority opinion in the case underscores a fundamental tenet of the U.S. system of democracy: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law.”
· 1 decade ago