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Casting light on the legal black hole: International law and detentions abroad in the "war on terror"

31-03-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 857, by Silvia Borelli

In the deprivation of liberty by agents acting outside the sovereign territory of their State, the prevention of violations of fundamental norms and values is particularly important.


Silvia Borelli
Ph.D. (Università degli Studi, Milano), Visting Research Fellow,British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London. 

Thousands of individuals have been detained abroad in the context of the “war on terror”, both during the armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and as a result of transnational law-enforcement operations. This paper argues that, notwithstanding contrary positions expounded by some States, the protections of international humanitarian law and/or international human rights law remain applicable to these individuals, wherever detained, and examines recent decisions of domestic courts and international bodies which appear to reveal a reassertion of international standards.  

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