WARSAW, 10 January 2012 – On the eve of tomorrow’s tenth anniversary of the transfer of the first detainees to the United States naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), expressed dismay today at the continued practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial of terrorism suspects.
“Universal human rights standards require that the detention of terrorist suspects shall be accompanied by concrete charges and the persons detained under these charges shall be immediately informed of them and brought before a competent judicial authority,” Lenarčič said.
Lenarčič regretted that the practice of indefinite detention without trial has been codified into United States law with the recent adoption of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Lenarčič called for a swift closure of the Guantánamo detention centre, as promised by President Obama, and for the United States Congress to remove any obstacles in this regard. Lenarčič also urged the authorities to prosecute promptly the remaining Guantánamo detainees in accordance with international fair trial standards, or release them.
As a participating State of the OSCE, the United States has committed itself to respect human rights in the fight against terrorism and to ensure the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time before an independent and impartial tribunal. In the OSCE Bucharest Document of 2001, participating States expressed their determination to protect their citizens from security challenges such as terrorism “while safeguarding the rule of law, individual liberties, and the right to equal justice under law.”