[JURIST] Convicted terrorism conspirator Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive] Friday filed suit [complaint, PDF; press release, DOC] in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against University of California Berkeley law professor John Yoo [academic profile], the author of controversial US government memos arguing that detained enemy combatants could be denied Geneva Conventions protections against torture. The suit alleges that Yoo's memos, written while he was a senior lawyer in the US Justice Department, helped set the Bush administration's policy that terrorism detainees are not protected by the Geneva Conventions. The Chicago Tribune has more.
In a January 2002 memo [text] co-authored by Yoo while working for the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel called "Application of Treaties and Laws to al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees", Yoo contended that because Guantanamo Bay detainees had no status under US federal law, "as a result, any customary international law of armed conflict in no way binds, as a legal matter, the President or the US Armed Forces concerning the detention or trial of members of al Qaeda and the Taliban." Yoo also worked on an August 2002 memo [text] that argued there was no law that could prevent the president from theoretically ordering torture. In 2004, Yoo published an op-ed entitled Terrorists Have No Geneva Rights [text] in the Wall Street Journal.