Letter from Alexander Karagiannis, DOS to Helen Clark, Member of Parliament, UK House of Commons re: Thank You for Your Letter of 7 August 2003

This is a letter from U.S. representative in the UK as the Director of United Kingdom, Benelux, and Ireland Affairs to Ms. Helen Clark, MP, UK House of Commons thanking her for her recent letter and concerns over the detainment and treatment of persons held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Karagiannis assures Ms. Clark that the treatment the detainees are receiving is in accordance with Geneva Conventions and they “will be treated consistent with American values and the principles of the international law of armed conflict. He also provides a Fact Sheet with the number of detainees in custody (618), the number released (115), and detailing the U.S.’s authority to detain suspeceted terrorists as well as their status, treatment and transfer.

Doc_type: 
Letter
Doc_date: 
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED

RELEASED IN FULL

Helen Clark, MP

House of Commons

London SW1A OAA

Dear Ms. Clark:

Thank you for your letter of 7 August 200.3 to
President Bush expressing concern related to the detainees
held under U.S. control at a U.S. naval base in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba.

As you note in your letter, the United States and
its Coalition partners are at war with terror, in
particular the al Qaida network and remnants of the
Taliban who continue to support them. The al Qaida
network today is a multinational enterprise with
operations in more than 60 countries. Active hostilities
are ongoing daily in Afghanistan and around the world.
We continue to fight against enemy combatants who are
planning and conducting attacks against us.

Let me assure you, however, that President Bush has
affirmed on any number of occasions that al Qaida and
Taliban detainees, regardless of their lack of status as
POWs under the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, will be
treated consistent with American values and the principles
of the international law of armed conflict. He has
determined that United States Armed Forces will treat enemy
combatants humanely, and, to the extent consistent with
military necessity, in a manner consistent with the
principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949.

Sincerely,

Alexander Karagiannis

Director

United Kingdom, Benelux, and

Ireland Affairs

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHMAD

UNCLASSIFIED
DATE/CASE ID: 10 NOV 2004 200303827
DOS-000368

UNCLASSIFIED
FACT SHEET GUANTANAMO DETAINEES
Quick Facts

RELEASED IN FULL

Total Detainees Currently in Custody: Approximately 618


Total Detainees Released: Approximately 115

Authority to Detain

We are at war. Active hostilities are ongoing. The United States has the authority under the law of armed conflict and the responsibility to detain enemy combatants.


The capture and detention of enemy combatants, to remove them from the fighting, is consistent with the law of armed conflict. The U.S. complies with the law of armed conflict, including the tenet of humanity — a principle that the terrorists flagrantly violate.

Status

Members of the Taliban and al Qaida are not entitled to Prisoner of War status under the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.


Under the terms of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, however, the Taliban are not entitled to POW status. Specifically, the Taliban did not qualify as lawful combatants (or POWs) under Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 because they failed to satisfy the following conditions:


Be part of a military hierarchy;


Wear uniforms or other distinctive signs visible at a distance;


Carry arms openly; and


Conduct their military operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

Treatment
• The United States has treated and will continue to treat enemy combatants humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949.
Transfer

Any determinations to transfer control of an enemy combatant to a foreign government would be made on a case-by-case basis and depend upon a variety of factors.


There is no legal requirement to release or transfer enemy combatants prior to the cessation of the conflict.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHMAD
UNCLASSIFIED
DATE/CASE ID: 10 NOV 2004 200303827
DOS-000369

Doc_nid: 
5955
Doc_type_num: 
69