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Habeas Corpus And War Essay

1728 words - 7 pages

Running Head: HABEAS CORPUS 1HABEAS CORPUS 7Cassandra A. NixHabeas Corpus and WarPOL201: American National GovernmentProfessor EspinozaAshford UniversityDecember 6, 2013Since the start of current war in 2001, the government has seemed to stay under close observation by Americans. There have always been rules set in place by the Constitution which protect every person's rights. These rights do not stop when someone is criminally accused. A person accused of a crime has right to challenge the legality of the detention. This right is Habeas Corpus and is at the center of debates when it comes to detainees in the war on terror held at Guantanamo Bay. In this paper I will discuss how the right of habeas corpus plays into the war on terrorism; the rights that Guantanamo detainees should or should not have as well as ethical issues the United States Government are faced with when deciding treatment of such prisoners.Habeas corpus originated in medieval England as a way of forcing a person's appearance before the court (Farrel, 2009). However, it has evolved into a manner of checking the state's legality of imprisonment. This change took place because there was concern over the unregulated ability of the crown to detain (Farrel, 2009). There were not checks on if a person was held legally so Parliament began efforts to change the rules. Habeas corpus went from ensuring court appearance to a way of stopping unlawful imprisonment from one's own government.The idea of habeas corpus was welcomed but there was a long journey into making it a written right in the Declaration. In June 1946 a permanent Committee of Human Rights was put into place and habeas corpus was on the minds of many from the beginning. The first session of this committee met in January 1947 and quickly began work on a declaration of human rights to be approved by the General Assembly (Farrel, 2009). Drafting a declaration began by trying to find balance between liberties and security with intent of submitting at next session. At the second session it proved work was still needed in the wording of this document. By the committee's third meeting in May 1948, it was decided to take habeas corpus out for reasons of conciseness. By the end of that session in December, however, Article 8 was added which stated "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law" (Farrel, 2009). Although not exactly the habeas corpus amendment, this article has great similarities.Even though the right to justice was granted, there have been cases where habeas corpus has been suspended. The first time was during the Civil War with President Lincoln. Though he had many unpopular wartime policies, the suspension of habeas corpus stood out most. He took away the right and declared martial law (White, 2012). The first case which caused issues was that of John Merryman who was jailed for many crimes...

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