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Annan praises US decision on Geneva protections for detainees

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] said Thursday that the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] decision to apply the Geneva Conventions to detainees in US military custody [JURIST report] "strengthens the international rule of law, and is true to the U.S.'s strong tradition of respect for civil liberties."

A statement [text] released by Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, reads, in full:

The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the U.S. Government requesting its defence officials to promptly review all relevant directives, regulations, policies, practices and procedures within their purview affecting alleged Al Qaeda or Taliban militants detained in U.S. custody, in order to ensure that all such measures comply with the standards of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

The Secretary-General believes this decision strengthens the international rule of law, and is true to the U.S.'s strong tradition of respect for civil liberties. He also believes, and has frequently stated, that strict compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law in no way contradicts or undermines efforts to counter terrorism, but on the contrary is essential to the success of those efforts. He encourages all countries to keep their legislation and practices under constant review, with a view to ensuring that they are in conformity with international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Bush administration officials have denied that a July 7 memo [PDF text] by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England represents a reversal in policy [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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