14 July 2006

Secretary-General Welcomes United States Decision to Apply Geneva Convention to Militant

NEW YORK, 13 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today in Rome by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the United States Government requesting its defence officials to promptly review all relevant directives, regulations, policies, practices and procedures within their purview affecting alleged Al-Qaida or Taliban militants detained in United States custody, in order to ensure that all such measures comply with the standards of common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

The Secretary-General believes this decision strengthens the international rule of law, and is true to the United States' strong tradition of respect for civil liberties.  He also believes, and has frequently stated, that strict compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law in no way contradicts or undermines efforts to counter terrorism, but on the contrary is essential to the success of those efforts.  He encourages all countries to keep their legislation and practices under constant review, with a view to ensuring that they are in conformity with international humanitarian and human rights laws.

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