RESOLUTION ON THE TREATMENT OF UNITED STATES MILITARY PRISONERS

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association condemns any use of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment upon persons within the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government (including its contractors) (“Detainees”) and any endorsement or authorization of such measures by government lawyers, officials and agents;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the United States government to comply fully with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, including the Geneva Conventions of August 12,1949, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and related customary international law, including Article 75 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and to take all measures necessary to ensure that no Detainee is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

WHEREAS, there have been allegations of significant abuse of the human rights of Detainees held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Forces;

WHEREAS, U.S. military investigations of said allegations have determined many to be valid and has resulted in convictions in military courts of U.S. soldiers stationed at Abu Ghraib;

WHEREAS, significant allegations of human rights abuse have also been made by Detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in Afghanistan;

WHEREAS, U.S. military investigations have also found systemic problems with protocols for interrogation of Detainees and supervision of military personnel at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities;

WHEREAS, International Human Rights Groups have accused the United States of extraordinary rendition, a practice of transporting Detainees to countries that allow torture of Detainees such as Uzbekistan;

WHEREAS, the United States of America’ classification of captured Detainees as “enemy combatants” and holding said Detainees without formal charges for extended periods of time conflicts with the Geneva Accords;

WHEREAS, certain interrogation techniques used by the Military Interrogators may be in conflict with the United Nations Convention Against Torture to which the U.S. is a signator;

WHEREAS, in the finest traditions of the pro bono publico representation, senior members of the bar in Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C. and many other cities in the United States and are representing individuals Detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib in an effort to ensure that their minimum due process and human rights are protected;

WHEREAS, the U.S. should abide by international standards of justice so as to maintain credibility in the world community and to ensure fair and just treatment of potential U.S. Detainees in foreign hands.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the United States government to take all measures necessary to ensure that all foreign persons captured, detained, interned or otherwise held within the custody or under the physical control of the United States are treated in accordance with standards that the United States would consider lawful if employed with respect to an American captured by a foreign power.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the United States government to take all measures necessary to ensure that no person within the custody or under the physical control of the United States is turned over to another government when the United States has substantial grounds to believe that that such person will be in danger of being subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges the United States Government, in addition to pending congressional investigations, to establish an independent, bipartisan commission with subpoena power to prepare a full account of detention and interrogation practices carried out by the United States, to make public findings, and to provide recommendations designed to ensure that such practices adhere faithfully to the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, including the Geneva Conventions, the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and related customary international law, including Article 75 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chancellor or his/her designee be authorized to take whatever steps are necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: JULY 28, 2005