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US discloses DOJ memo saying transfer of prisoners from Iraq allowed under Geneva Convention

[JURIST] US officials have disclosed a legal opinion in which Department of Justice lawyers conclude for the first time that the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian persons in time of war does not apply to non-Iraqi detainees held by the US in Iraq, a conclusion questioned by some legal scholars. The DOJ draft, produced last spring for White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales but only officially acknowledged and outlined Monday after a Washington Post report over the weekend (noted in JURIST's Paper Chase here), finds that the Convention does not cover some non-Iraqi detainees, allowing the US to transfer them out of Iraq. US officials said the conclusion was the unanimous opinion of lawyers from the DOJ, the Department of State, the Defense Department and others. They also said more detainees may be transferred under the opinion (the CIA has extracted about a dozen prisoners from Iraq in the past six months), though they did not indicate where they were being held. The draft memo from the DOJ is available here [PDF]. The New York Times has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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