An Interesting read:


The Fight against Terrorism and the Rules of International Law –
Comment on papers and speeches of John B. Bellinger, Chief Legal Advisor to the
United States State Department

Heidelberg, 15 November 2006
Dr. Silja Vöneky2
During the last months John B. Bellinger, Chief Legal Advisor to the United States State Department, is engaging in dialogue with politicians and legal scholars in European countries as there are – from his point of view – a number of misimpressions that have become prevalent over the last years, particularly in Europe, in regard to the US positions on questions of the legal basis and legal limits of the “war on terror” and the treatment of detained terrorists.

However, in my view, for enhancing the dialogue concerning these matters it is important – as a first step – to make very clear what are the differences in the interpretation of the relevant legal rules, as, for instance the limits of the law of self defence; the applicability of the laws of war; lacunae in the laws of war; the question of “unlawful combatant” versus “offensive civilian”; the question of who is a prisoners of war; the treatment of detainees which are not prisoners of war: the legal limits of the Third Geneva Convention and of common Art. 3 of the Geneva Convention; the applicability of human right treaties; the core principles of humane treatment; the range of procedural rights; the interpretation of the prohibition of torture, etc. The following statement tries to lay down a “European” approach to answer the legal questions concerning the fight against terrorism and makes a proposal how to avoid misperceptions and misunderstandings in the future.

Full paper available here