Cablegate: Dod General Counsel Haynes, Meeting with High

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) U.S.: Ambassador Kevin Moley, DOD General Counsel
William J. Haynes, DOD DAS Matthew Waxman, USN Capt. Michael
Boock, EUCOM Col. William Lietzau and Lt. Col. Sarajane
Stenton, U.S. Mission Legal Adviser Jeffrey Kovar, and
Political Counselor Velia De Pirro.

OHCHR: High Commissioner Louise Arbour, and OHCHR Human
Rights Officers Jonathan Prentice, Karim Gehzraoui and
Shahrzad Tadjbakhsh.

Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law

2. (SBU) In a September 22, 2005 meeting with High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, DOD General
Counsel William J. Haynes welcomed the opportunity to meet
with her and offered to begin a dialogue on issues of mutual
interest. Arbour said she welcomed the opportunity to speak
with GC Haynes. Noting that her first experience in
international humanitarian law had been with the
International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), she
lauded the precedent set by ICTY in creating a new body of
law by establishing personal criminal accountability for
rulers and others who abused human rights. Arbour urged the
United States to exercise leadership in support of what she
deemed to be progressive international legal developments.
She stressed that the United States must be willing to
subject itself to the international legal rules to which it
wants to hold others.

3. (SBU) She pointed to the United States and Canada as two
democracies with legislation providing protections well
beyond the minimum standards of most international law. She
asserted that this made it easier to accept an international
regime of rules. For example, both countries could easily
embrace international rules on admissibility of evidence in
criminal cases. Arbour described her work on a fully
functioning international regime of human rights rules,
implementation, and enforcement, in addition to robust
domestic implementation through universal jurisdiction. She
saw this as the natural evolution of law that is moving and
bringing exciting changes, rather than remaining settled.

4. (SBU) GC Haynes noted that there was a lot of room for
discussion as the law continues to develop; it is important
to take account of the key role of the customs and practices
of nations in the discussion. He warned that new rules may
have unintended consequences, and that customs are not always
accepted by every state. The U.S. is reluctant to support
any unelected body making new international rules.

Access for Special Rapporteurs to Guantanamo

5. (SBU) As expected, Arbour was forceful in making her case
for admitting the Special Rapporteurs to Guantanamo. She
said that the United States simply had to agree to a
reasonable request to stop the increasing pressure on this
issue and to assert its leadership role in defending human
rights. She added that allowing at least some of the
rapporteurs to visit would benefit the United States, image
in the world as well as make things easier for friends and
allies of the United States. GC Haynes said he heard the
message loud and clear. He noted that the issue was under
review, and expressed appreciation for Arbour,s support for
U.S. leadership on human rights.

Assurances Against Torture for Returned Detainees
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) Arbour had read in the press that the United States
was about to return detainees to Afghanistan. She expressed
concern they not be returned if there was any question of
torture, noting that Sweden had been found by the Torture
Committee to have violated the Convention Against Torture in
this regard. DAS Waxman responded by describing current
discussions. There was agreement that Arbour's efforts to
assist the GOA with rule of law issues could complement DOD
efforts to create the infrastructure to receive the
returnees. Arbour added that her office was prepared to
provide assistance in assessing the credibility of the
assurances provided by host governments. She questioned the
acceptance of assurances from nations that are &known8 to
be human rights violators. GC Haynes stressed that U.S. law
in this regard was clear; moreover, the United States did not
want to keep detained persons longer than necessary.

Detention Review

7. (SBU) Arbour said she had heard it said that the USG
doctrine was an absolute separation of international human
rights and humanitarian law. In her view, the two bodies of
law operate together, as in Darfur. She noted she was
pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court had filled the legal
"black hole" regarding detainees. GC Haynes responded that
DOD was eager to engage on these issues; that long before the
Supreme Court ruled on the right of detainees to bring habeas
corpus actions, there were several layers of administrative
review for Guantanamo detainees. He outlined various aspects
of the procedure governing Commissions.

Visit to United States

8. (SBU) At the beginning of the meeting, Arbour noted her
interest in visiting Washington to meet with Secretary of
Defense Rumsfeld, which adds to her outstanding request to
meet with Secretary Rice. (Comment: U.S. Mission Geneva is
working on dates for a possible visit later this fall. End

9. GC Haynes has cleared on this message.


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