Comment: Standards for Habeas Corpus Review for ‘Enemy Combatants’ Under Hamdi, Padilla, and Rasul
Global Community Yearbook of International Law, p. 173, 2004
Posted: 22 Jun 2010 Last revised: 20 Apr 2012
Date Written: 2004
Amidst a heated political and diplomatic fray over the detention of some 600 persons at the U.S. Naval base of Guantanamo, Cuba, the U.S. Supreme Court announced on June 28, 2004 four cases involving the right of habeas corpus review for detainees dubbed “enemy combatants” held at Guantanamo Bay and in the United States. More broadly, the judgments enter a historically important line of cases involving protection against arbitrary detention in war time. Two consolidated cases, Rasul v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States answer the question whether U.S. federal courts can hear statutory habeas challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.
In a series of complex majority, plurality, and concurring opinions, as well as fiery dissents, the Court provides a road map for statutory habeas challenges by persons held under U.S. jurisdiction in the context of the Afghan conflict and the amorphous “war on terror”. At the same time, the judgments leave open a number of questions on the scope of the rulings.
Keywords: detention, war crimes, war on terror, habeas corpus, Supreme Court, Guantanamo Bay, enemy combatants, unlawful combatants
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