(Washington, DC, February 13, 2007) – Human Rights Watch strongly supports the “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007,” introduced today by Senator Christopher Dodd, which would correct many of the worst aspects of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
The Restoring the Constitution Act would undo these troubling provisions. Among other things, the legislation restores detainees’ habeas corpus rights, making sure that the president cannot simply place any non-citizen in military custody on his say-so, without any independent review of the decision to detain. It also adopts a sensible definition of combatant and prohibits the use of any evidence obtained through coercion. The legislation would undo troubling court-stripping provisions of the Military Commissions Act by restoring the right of litigants to raise violations of US international obligations under the Geneva Conventions in a court of law.
The Restoring the Constitution Act would go a long way toward restoring the moral authority and credibility of the United States as a leader in the promotion of respect for the rule of law around the world. We urge the Senate to enact this important piece of legislation into law.
The Restoring the Constitution Act