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 Home > News & Policies > September 2006

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: JAG Leaders Say Common Article 3 Provisions Would Be "Helpful"

     Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

The New York Times Reports That JAG Leaders "Would Agree Only To Say That They Could Not Find Anything Illegal About The Specific Issue Of Amending Common Article 3." (Kate Zernike, "Rebuff For Bush On Terror Trials In A Senate Test," The New York Times, 9/15/06)

JAG Leaders Affirmatively Say The Administration's Common Article 3 Provisions Would Be "Helpful"

  • According To The JAG Lawyers' Letter: "Indeed, We Think These Provisions Would Be Helpful To Our Fighting Men And Women At War On Behalf Of Our Country." TEXT OF LETTER: "We do not object to section 6 of the Administration proposal, which would clarify the obligations of the United States under common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and section 7 of the Administration proposal, which would address crimes under the War Crimes Act. Indeed, we think these provisions would be helpful to our fighting men and women at war on behalf of our Country." (Major General Scott Black, U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General, Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., U.S. Air Force, Deputy Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral Bruce Macdonald, U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General, Brigadier General James C. Walker, Staff Judge Advocate To The U.S. Marine Corps, Colonel Ronald M. Reed, U.S. Air Force, Legal Counsel To The Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Letter To Sen. John Warner And Rep. Duncan Hunter, 9/13/06)
  • In August 2 Hearing, Military JAGs Support Bringing Definition To Common Article 3. SEN. FEINSTEIN: "Admiral MacDonald and Admiral Black - excuse me, General Black - you both speak about Common Article 3 in your written comments, the prohibition - Admiral MacDonald - you say 'Common Article 3's prohibition upon "outrages (up)on personal dignity" is not well defined.' How would you suggest we define it?" GEN. BLACK: "In its current formulation, it's entirely too vague, and it puts - as you mentioned before - our service members at risk, our own service members at risk." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)
    • Gen. Rives Welcomes "Congressional Efforts To Better Define" Common Article 3. GEN. RIVES: "We welcome congressional efforts to better define which 'outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,' amount to serious breaches worthy [of] classification as felonies. Such efforts would serve our men and women fighting the global war on terrorism by providing clearly delineated limits. ... Congressional efforts to better define these terms for Common Article 3 purposes will provide needed clarity to the rules of conduct for our military forces." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)
  • In August 2 Hearing, Military JAG Lawyers Note They Have Been "Consulted Fairly Extensively" About Common Article 3. SEN. GRAHAM: "To the judge advocates, have you been consulted fairly extensively about military commissions and Common Article 3 by the administration?" GEN.: "Yes, sir, we have." GEN.: "Particularly of late, sir." GEN.: "Yes, sir." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)
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