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Language of the Compromise on Common Article 3
Sep-21-06 08:58 pm
Our Georgetown Law Center colleague Marty Lederman over at Balkinization has posted the compromise language on Common Article 3.  Here it is:

AGREEMENT UPON COMMON ARTICLE 3
SEC. 7. TREATY OBLIGATIONS NOT ESTABLISHING GROUNDS FOR CERTAIN CLAIMS.

(a) IN GENERAL. No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or
any protocols thereto in any habeas or civil action or proceeding to
which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee,
member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States, is a
partyas a source of rights, in any court of the United States or its
States or territories.

(b) GENEVA CONVENTIONS DEFINED. In this section, the term "Geneva
Conventions" means

(1) the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the
Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, done at Geneva August 12,
1949 (6 UST 3217);

(2) the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the
Wounded, Sick, and Shipwrecked Members of the Armed Forces at Sea, done
at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);

(3) the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,
done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316); and

(4) the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons
in Time of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516).

SEC. 8. IMPLEMENTATION OF TREATY OBLIGATIONS.

(a)(1) IN GENERAL. The acts enumerated in subsection 2441(d) of
title 18, United States Code, as amended by subsection (b) of this
section, and in subsection (c) of this section, constitute violations of
Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibited by United States
law.

(2) PROHIBITION ON GRAVE BREACHES. The provisions in section 2441
of title 18, United States Code, as amended by this section, fully
satisfy the obligation under Article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention
for the United States to provide effective penal sanctions for grave
breaches which are encompassed in Common Article 3 in the context of an
armed conflict not of an international character. No foreign or
international sources of law shall supply a basis for a rule of decision
in the courts of the United States in interpreting the prohibitions
enumerated in subsection 2441(d).

(3)INTERPRETATION BY THE PRESIDENT. (A) As provided by the
Constitution and by this section, the President has the authority for the
United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva
Conventions and to promulgatehigher standards and administrative
regulations for violations of treaty obligations which are not grave
breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

(B) The President shall issue such interpretations by Executive
Order published in the Federal Register, and such orders shall be
authoritative (as to non-grave breach provisions) as a matter of United
States law, in the same manner as other administrative regulations.

(C) Nothing in this section shall affect the constitutional
functions and responsibilities of Congress and the judicial branch of
the United States.

(b)REVISION TO WAR CRIMES OFFENSE UNDER FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE. (1)
Section 2441 of title 18, United States Code, is amended

(A) in subsection (c), by striking paragraph (3) and
inserting the following new paragraph (3):

(3) which constitutes a grave breach of Common Article 3 as
defined in subsection (d) when committed in the context of and in
association with an armed conflict not of an international
character; or;

(B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(d) COMMON ARTICLE 3 VIOLATIONS.

(1) PROHIBITED CONDUCT.—In subsection (c)(3), the term
˜grave breach of Common Article 3" means any conduct (such conduct
constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the
international conventions does at Geneva August 12, 1949), as
follows:

(A) TORTURE. The act of a person who commits, or
conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically
intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or
suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful
sanctions) upon another person within his custody or
physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or
a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any
reason based on discrimination of any kind.

(B) CRUEL OR INHUMAN TREATMENT. The act of a person
who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act
intended to inflict severe or serious physical or mental
pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental
to lawful sanctions), including seriousphysical abuse, upon
another within his custody or control.

(C) PERFORMING BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS. The act of a
person who subjects, or conspires or attempts to subject,
one or more persons within his custody or physical control
to biological experiments without a legitimate medical or
dental purpose and in so doing endangers the body or health
of such person or persons.

(D) MURDER. The act of a person who intentionally
kills, or conspires or attempts to kill, or kills whether
intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing
any other offense under this section, one or more persons
taking no active part in the hostilities, including those
placed out of combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any
other cause.

(E) MUTILATION OR MAIMING. The act of a person who
intentionally injures, or conspires or attempts to injure,
or injures whether intentionally or unintentionally in the
course of committing any other offense under this section,
one or more persons taking no active part in the
hostilities, including those placed out of combat by
sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, by
disfiguring the person or persons by any mutilation thereof
or by permanently disabling any member, limb, or organ of
his body, without any legitimate medical or dental purpose.

“(F) INTENTIONALLY CAUSING SERIOUS BODILY INJURY.—The
act of a person who intentionally causes, or conspires or
attempts to cause, serious bodily injury to one or more
persons, including lawful combatants, in violation of the
law of war.

“(G) RAPE.—The act of a person who forcibly or with
coercion or threat of force wrongfully invades, or conspires
or attempts to invade, the body of a person by penetrating,
however slightly, the anal or genital opening of the victim
with any part of the body of the accused, or with any
foreign object.

“(H) SEXUAL ASSAULT OR ABUSE.—The act of a person who
forcibly or with coercion or threat of force engages, or
conspires or attempts to engage, in sexual contact with one
or more persons, or causes, or conspires or attempts to
cause, one or more persons to engage in sexual contact.

“(I) TAKING HOSTAGES.—The act of a person who, having
knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens
to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or
persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person
other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or
refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for
the safety or release of such person or persons.

“(2) DEFINITIONS.—In the case of an offense under subsection
(a) by reason of subsection (c)(3)—

“(A) the term ‘severe mental pain or suffering’
shall
be applied for purposes of paragraphs (1)(A) and (1)(B) in
accordance with the meaning given that term in section
2340(2) of this title.

“(B) the term ‘serious bodily injury’ shall be
applied
for purposes of paragraph (1)(F) in accordance with the
meaning given that term in section 113(b)(2) of this title.

“(C) the term ‘sexual contact’ shall be applied
for
purposes of paragraph (1)(G) in accordance with the meaning
given that term in section 2246(3) of this title.

“(D) the term ‘serious physical pain or
suffering’
means bodily injurythat involves—

(1) a substantial risk of death;

(2) extreme physical pain;

(3) a burn or physical disfigurement of a serious
nature, not to include cuts, abrasions, or bruises; or

(4) significant loss or impairment of the function
of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

“(E) the term ‘serious mental pain or suffering’
shall have the same meaning as ‘severe mental pain or
suffering’ as such term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2340(2),
except that the term ‘serious’ shall replace the term
‘severe’ where it appears in such definition, and except
that, as to conduct occurring following the date of
enactment of the Military Commission Act of 2006, the term
‘serious and non-transitory mental harm (which need not be
prolonged)’ shall replace the term ‘prolonged mental harm’
in such definition.�

“(3) INAPPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO C
OLLATERAL DAMAGE OR INCIDENT OF LAWFUL ATTACK.—The intent
specified for the conduct stated in subparagraphs (D), (E), and
(F) or paragraph (1) precludes the applicability of those
subparagraphs to an offense under subsection (a) by reasons of
subsection (c)(3) with respect to—

“(A) collateral damage; or

“(B) death, damage, or injury incident to a lawful
attack.

“(4) INAPPLICABILITY OF TAKING HOSTAGES TO PRISONER
EXCHANGE.—Paragraph (1)(I) does not apply to an offense under
subsection (a) by reason of subsection (c)(3) in the case of a
prisoner exchange during wartime.�.

(2) RETROACTIVE APPLICABILITY.—The amendments made by this
section, except as specified in paragraph 2441(d)(2)(E) of title 10,
United States Code, shall take effect as of November 26, 1997, as if
enacted immediately after the amendments made by section 583 of Public
Law 105-118 (as amended by section 4002 of Public Law 107-273).

(c)ADDITIONALPROHIBITION ON CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR
PUNISHMENT.

(1) IN GENERAL.—No individual in the custody or under the physical
control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or
physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading
treatment or punishment.

(2) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED
.—The term ‘cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment’in
this
subsection shall mean the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or
punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to
the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States
Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations
Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.

(3) The President shall take action to ensure compliance with this
subsection, including through the establishment of administrative rules
and procedures.

About the editor:

Anthony Clark Arend

Professor

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.

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» Learn more about the M.A. in International Law and Government at Georgetown University.


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