NEW YORK, NY -- January 31-- U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Green today ruled that special military tribunals used by the Pentagon to determine the alleged guilt and continued detention of men and women held at Guantánamo Bay are illegal.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which filed a number of the habeas petitions before Judge Green called the decision a major victory for the detainees and for civil liberties. CCR attorneys, who also won the Supreme Court case Rasul v. Bush last year, has since condemned the Bush Administration for failing to comply with the decision and give the Guantánamo detainees a chance to challenge their detention in federal court.
Deputy Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Barbara Olshansky stated, Judge Green has sent a hopeful message to the world that despite the Administration's continued refusal to acknowledge the unlawfulness of its behavior, our democratic institutions are working hard to ensure justice is preserved. Our courts are alive and working to put this country's actions back in line with the humanitarian principles that are the foundation of modern civilized society and the backbone of the cooperative relationship among the world's community of nations.
Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights said, Judge Greens decision is extraordinary. It reaffirms that the Guantánamo detainees cannot be imprisoned outside the law, that they have a constitutional right to a fair hearing and that evidence resulting from torture and coercion cannot be used to continue their imprisonments. The judge also found that it was illegal for the President to unilaterally determine that an entire group of the Guantánamo prisoners were not POWs protected by the Geneva conventions. This ruling has the potential to bring the U.S. back into the fold of nations under law. It is about time.