Responding Lawfully to Al Qaeda

46 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2009

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: October 30, 2009


This article addresses several problems posed by Bush Administration responses to al Qaeda and terrorism in view of relevant treaty-based and customary international law, including: the legal status of al Qaeda, self-defense against al Qaeda armed attacks, status of members of al Qaeda captured in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatant status and immunity, prisoner of war status, security detainees, treatment of detainees, and prosecution of detainees. With respect to prosecution, the article also outlines several problems posed by use of military commissions, especially in view of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan and the 2006 Military Commissions Act.

Keywords: al Qaeda, combatant, cruel, detainee, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, Hamdan, human right, inhumane, military commission, Military Commissions Act, non-state actor, prisoner of war, secret detention, self-defense, terrorism, torture, war, war crime

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., Responding Lawfully to Al Qaeda (October 30, 2009). U of Houston Law Center No. 2009-A-32, Catholic University Law Review, Vol. 56, p. 759, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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