ISSN 2330-717X

Guantanamo Legal Vacuum Territory – OpEd


By Alexander Vatutin


In its ten years, the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay has handled almost 800 suspected members of Islamist terror groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They came from 23 countries on all continents. The youngest was 25, and the oldest was 62. Six of the prisoners have been convicted, 8 have died, and 171 continue to languish at Guantanamo without charges against them being laid.

We have an opinion from Russian international law expert Dr Sergei Maximov:
“The Guantanamo prison is holding suspects in crimes against the United States. Jurisdictionally, however, it is located in Cuba. An exterritorial jail where inmates are indefinitely held without charge is something that cannot be taken lightly by the international legal community.”

The Americans have many times acknowledged numerous instances of ill-treatment and torture at Guantanamo, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures or loud music and even water-boarding. To shake off accusations of this kind, the Bush administration allowed 537 of Gitmo’s inmates to walk free. Obama, when he took charge, pledged to do away with Gitmo within one year by transferring some of its inmates to jails in the US and extraditing the others to their countries of origin. The Congress, however, blocked the Gitmo closure, and the President chose not to veto the blocking motion.

Speaking to the media Sunday, officials at the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Guantanamo Bay and the exterritorial American jails in Afghanistan, where at least 3 thousand inmates are being held, represent a gross violation of international law by the US. The diplomats also criticized the latest American counter-terror laws for upholding exterritorial justice. They called attention to the fact that Washington is flouting its obligations under the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by illegally imprisoning people, mistreating them and denying them access to regular justice. By enacting the latest American counter-terror laws, President Barack Obama has given his services a carte blanche to go on this way.



VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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