Friday, March 28, 2014

The ICCPR and U.S. military justice

On March 26, 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted Concluding Observations on the Fourth Report of the United States, CCPR/C/USA/CO/4. The committee encouraged the United States "to engage with stakeholders at all levels to identify ways to give greater effect" to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Taking into account its declaration that provisions of the Covenant are non-self-executing, [the U.S. should] ensure that effective remedies are available for violations of the Covenant, including those that do not, at the same time, constitute violations of U.S. domestic law, and undertake a review of such areas with a view to proposing to the Congress implementing legislation to fill any legislative gaps. The State party should also consider acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant providing for an individual communication procedure.
Military justice is a prime area in which legislative action is needed to render U.S. law Covenant-compliant or, failing that, to provide meaningful domestic remedies for violations of the ICCPR.

1 comment:

  1. Non-self-executing but the U.S. includes this understanding: "That the United States understands that this Covenant shall be implemented by the Federal Government to the extent that it exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered therein..."

    In a broader sense, the fact that the U.S. has several reservations and understandings (and none related to military justice) shows that the U.S. thought how they would like this treaty to apply. Signing on was not an empty gesture.

    The U.S.'s 2011 addition of an objection to the treaty scolding Pakistan shows that the ICCPR is still a living treaty for the U.S. It also shows how the treaty is used as an instrument of foreign policy. Such usage could be double-edged as parts of U.S. law which are inconsistent with the ICCPR (such as military justice) are used against us indirectly, such as in asylum, deportation, and extradition controversies.


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