Board Resolution ~ 11/02/2002(3)

Regarding Enemy Combatants

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Regarding Enemy Combatants 

Chicago, Illinois

November 2, 2002

WHEREAS the officers, directors, and members of the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers have dedicated their professional lives to upholding the rule of law, the principle of equal justice under law, and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution;

WHEREAS the officers, directors, and members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are entirely in agreement with America's great wartime ally Winston Churchill when he said that Athe power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government;

WHEREAS the Constitution of the United States provides that the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is not to be suspended except in the last extremity, and only upon Congressional authorization;

WHEREAS the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is not presently in suspension;

WHEREAS section 4001(a) of Title 18 of the United States Code provides that A[n]o citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress”;

WHEREAS the United States is a signatory and party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which expressly provides that, AAnyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful”;

WHEREAS the Executive branch of the government of the United States has, since September 11, 2001, imprisoned, and continues to imprison, citizens and non-citizens alike as Aenemy combatants.”

WHEREAS, according to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the administration has taken the position that Awith no meaningful judicial review, any American citizen alleged to be an enemy combatant could be detained indefinitely without charges or counsel on the government's say-so”;

WHEREAS the locution Aenemy combatant is not a defined term of art in the domestic law of the United States nor in international law or usage; and

WHEREAS the continuing imprisonment as Aenemy combatants, without access or the prospect of access to any trial or tribunal, or to legal counsel, of persons not afforded the rights and status of prisoners of war is wholly unprecedented in and fundamentally at odds with the Anglo-American law;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposes the classification of any detainee as an Aenemy combatant without a proper, legally cognizable definition or description of such a detainee's status and rights under law;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposes the de facto suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus that has been visited upon those classified by the Administration as Aenemy combatants”;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers shall urge the government of the United States immediately to afford those persons imprisoned as Aenemy combatants such process of law as is due under the Constitution and laws of the United States and the customs and norms of international public law.

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