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The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005: Embodying U.S. Values to Eliminate Detainee Abuse by Civilian Contractors and Bounty Hunters in Afghanistan and Iraq

Posted by on Friday, September 21, 2012 in Notes, Vol. 39 No. 5, Volume 39, Volumes.

The growth in the number of bounty hunters and civilian contractors accompanying the U.S. military into battle has swelled during the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Civilians have been utilized in all facets of those military campaigns, including the interrogation of suspected terrorists or insurgents. Faced with intense pressure to rapidly obtain information about terrorist operations and yet having little oversight of their interrogation activities, some of these contractors and bounty hunters have been accused of abusing detainees.  This Note explores the legal avenues for addressing accusations of detainee abuse by U.S. civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq and concludes that those offenses should be prosecuted in U.S. courts to ensure swift and efficient justice and protect the rights of the accused.  The Author critiques several other proposed legal avenues, including international bodies, host-country justice, and civil suits in U.S. federal courts. Finally, the Note discusses the Detainee Treatment Act and argues that it provides the most comprehensive legal solution to the detainee abuse problem by promoting clear, uniform standards of interrogation, closing loopholes in existing criminal statutes, and allowing for a reasonable person defense by the accused.

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