[JURIST] The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) [official website] on Friday agreed to hear the case of Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder] detainee and Algerian national Djamel Ameziane. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) [advocacy websites], co-counsel for Ameziane, states that Ameziane has been held at Guantanamo Bay without any charge or trial for more than 10 years. This is the first time that the IACHR has agreed to accept jurisdiction over a Guantanamo detainee. J Wells Dixon, Senior Staff Attorney at CCR, stated:
Indefinite detention is not an option. Detained men must be afforded fair trials or released. It is long past the time for impunity at Guantanamo to end, and for the closure of Guantanamo to be addressed. Today’s IACHR decision is a step in that direction.
The IACHR will investigate whether the US’s failure to transfer Ameziane is in compliance with international human rights law.
The US has been widely criticized for its policies relating to Guantanamo and indefinite detention. In January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] expressed disappointment [JURIST report] that the US government has failed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Also that month the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] criticized the US human rights record [JURIST report], including the indefinite detention of Guantanamo Bay detainees. In August former detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive], an Australian national, filed an appeal [JURIST report] with the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] complaining of multiple violations of international law stemming from his five-year incarceration at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2007. In January 2011 Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] President Barack Obama make greater efforts to close Guantanamo Bay despite congressional opposition.