Monday, April 14, 2008

The Human Rights Act and the struggle to combat Islamist terror

There is an excellent article over at Comment is Free discussing the bind that we have been gotten into by the Human Rights Act with an inability to effectively control or kick out dangerous Islamist terrorists.

I've said before that I think the real tragedy of Guantanamo bay is that it responded to a real problem in such a shoddy way. Terror suspects come from conditions similar to those of prisoners of war where it isn't really possible to gather evidence - as it is overseas in a conflict zone - but they are part of a conflict that won't have a clear end after which we can hand them back. That means that neither prisoner of war nor civilian law are really appropriate. Some new legal resolution was needed.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration didn't set about coming up with a real solution but instead came up with a shoddy ad hoc legal limbo.

We have similar problems with terror suspects here. They are part of a conflict so large and diffuse that ordinary criminal law struggles to cope. Too much of the evidence is from ongoing intelligence work. That means that we do need some kind of new legal synthesis. Unfortunately, one hasn't been provided and the courts have been loathe to consider any 'least bad' option.

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