Russia calls on US, UK to disclose abuses during ‘war on terror’

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
A sign identifies Joint Task Force Guantanamo's closed down Camp I at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 22, 2016. © Lucas Jackson
Maintaining the integrity of the judicial system is a cornerstone in ensuring fundamental human rights and freedoms, especially for those, who were persecuted when legal proceedings were bypassed or under a political pretext.

On March 23 at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) a Russian draft resolution called Judicial System Integrity was adopted by consensus. The resolution was co-sponsored by Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Venezuela. This is an example of the key role UNHRC member states play in strengthening the legal human rights framework.

The resolution calls upon countries that operate military courts or criminal tribunals ensure they are set up as a part of the national judicial systems and meet internationally recognized principles of justice. It is important that anyone under a state’s jurisdiction enjoys all the rights and has access to a common judicial system.

Failure to comply with international standards results in systematic violations of human rights. Dozens of prisoners are held in the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay with no fair trial, no right to a defense or to appeal and are outside the legal framework. The resolution calls for the immediate shutting down all secret detention facilities as well as to hold an immediate independent and unbiased investigation into all the cases of so-called “extraordinary renditions”, secret detention, torture and abusive treatment, including under the pretext of combating terrorism.

I have no doubt this resolution will help bring all those involved in such illegal activity to justice, and help international human rights organizations push for full disclosure by the US, UK and other governments of all abuses committed in the name of ‘war on terror’.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.