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France PM says legal rules must be respected in fighting terror

[JURIST] French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [BBC profile] offered an implied criticism of the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in a speech [text, in French] to the Institute of Higher Studies of National Defense [official website, in French] Friday in which he said efforts to fight terrorism must always be made "while respecting the rule of law." Villepin declared:

In order for the fight against terrorism to be as effective as possible we have to act while respecting our values and our rules.

Let us avoid zones where there are no rights, let us reject anything that can give rise to arbitrariness, whether this means military interventions without the international community's authorization, exceptional tribunals, or detention centers outside the framework of international law.

The greatest determination in the face of terrorism, yes, but always while respecting the rule of law.
US President George Bush earlier this week acknowledged that the prison base should be shut down [JURIST report] after three detainees committed suicide [JURIST report] last weekend, citing the harm the prison has caused to the reputation of the US. But the President maintained he would first await a US Supreme Court decision [JURIST report] on whether military commissions [JURIST news archive] for foreign terror suspects can proceed. He also said a system to relocate the prisoners currently in Guantanamo Bay should be implemented prior to the shutdown.

The Guantanamo Bay prison facility currently houses 460 prisoners. Only 10 have been formally charged. Reuters has more.

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