Letter from Pierre-Richard Prosper, Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues, to Tausif Paracha Regarding Treatment of Detainees in Afghanistan

This is a letter from Pierre-Richard Prosper, Ambassador-At-Large for War Crimes Issues, to Tausif Paracha regarding the Treatment of detainees in Afghanistan. In the letter Amb. Prosper states: Let me assure you... President Bush has affirmed on any number of occasions that at Qaida and Taliban detainees are treated humanely, and, to the extent consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. As a result, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) routinely visit detainees individually and privately.

Doc_type: 
Letter
Doc_date: 
Monday, February 23, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Monday, November 22, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED
SIS 200332515
ORIG .,LT\l. TO • .ADDRESSEE BY BUREAU

S.3ll
COPy ITO;'.
UDited Slates Department of State
IPS
(HEW)
February 23, 2004 Tausif Paracha
Dear Mr. Paracha:
Amba.aador-at-Large for
War Crimea INuea

Wcu~n,D.C. 20520
RELEASED IN PART B6
Thank you for your letter to Secretary Powell expressing concern related to a detainee
held under U.S. control at an airbase in Afghanistan.

The United States and its Coalition partners are at war with the al Qaida network and remnants of the Taliban who continue to support them. The al Qaida network today is a multir.ational 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 the international community. In this context, operational and security concerns compel me to refrain from confirming or commenting on the circumstances of capture, transfer or detention of specific individuals believed to be held as enemy combatants in the course ofthat connict.
Let me assure you, however, that President Bush has affirmed on any number of occasions that al Qaida and Taliban detainees are treated humanely, and. to the extent consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. As a result, representatives ofthe International Committee ofthe Red Cross (leRC) routinely visit detainees individually and privately. United States Government personnel are not permitted to torture detainees or participate in torture by others. Torture is a violation of the laws of the United States. Allegations oftoI1ure will be thoroughly investigated. In cases where the United States Government transfers detainees to other countries for detention or questioning on our behalf, we seek and receive assurances that the detainees will not be tortured and wi II be treated humanely.
The authority to detain enemy combatants for the duration ofhostilities exists in law independent of the civil or criminal justice system. In this war, as in every war. enemy combatants are not provided counselor access to courts for the purpose ofchallenging their detention while hostilities are ongoing. While some enemy combatants may face criminal prosecution before the end ofhostilities, nations at war traditionally have waited until hostilities cease to bring such charges. Ifand when an enemy is charged with a crime. he would then be entitled to access to counsel and be afforded other privileges necessary to receive a fair·trial.

Pierre-Richard Prosper
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: FRANK E SCHMELZER DATE/CASE 10: 24 SEP 2004 200303827
UNCLASSIFIED

005-000270

Doc_nid: 
5928
Doc_type_num: 
69