Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The War on the War on Terror

The International Commission of Jurists has put together a sweeping indictment of the "war on terror."  The report insists that the ordinary justice system can handle terrorism, but its main thrust is to marshal a web of international human rights that make it a lot less likely that the justice system will actually succeed in that task.  I'm not capable of judging all of its human rights claims, but the handling of immigration rules is disturbing. 

After acknowledging that, in theory, nations can expel noncitizens who are terrorists, the report says that nations can't expel them if they might be oppressed at home, and it can't keep them in long-term detention, or even house arrest, either.  So a country that captures  a terrorist who has crossed its borders illegally could easily find itself unable either to expel the terrorist or to lock him up. It has to leave him free to roam around the country.  That's not a recipe for persuading ordinary people that international human rights law makes a lot of sense.

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