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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 October 2020
On April 22, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission) issued its first decision on one of the Guantanamo detainees, Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian Muslim who was held at Guantanamo for almost 12 years until he was deported to Algeria in 2013, in violation, inter alia, of the principle of non-refoulement. The case was brought on Mr. Ameziane's behalf by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the decision is very comprehensive and carefully written, as is to be expected of a decision totaling 70 pages. Although the United States became a party to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1992, it never accepted the first Optional Protocol, which gives individuals the right to bring complaints against the United States before the U.N. Human Rights Committee; consequently, the only international body to which an individual can bring a complaint against the United States for a violation of international human rights law is the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a principal organ of the Organization of American States (OAS).
1 Djamel Ameziane v. United States of America, Case 12.865 Merits, Inter-Am. Comm'n H.R., Report No. 29/20 (2020) [hereinafter Ameziane].
2 Towards the Closure of Guantanamo, Inter-Am. Comm'n H.R., Doc. 20/15, OAS/Ser.L/V/II (2015), http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/Towards-Closure-Guantanamo.pdf.
3 Ameziane, supra note 1, ¶ 27.
4 “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR): Decision on Request for Precautionary Measures (Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), March 12, 2002,” 41 ILM 532 (2002).
5 Article 1 of the Statute of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Approved by Resolution No. 447 of the OAS General Assembly at its ninth regular session, La Paz, Bolivia, October 1979, http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/mandate/Basics/statuteiachr.asp. American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (May 2, 1948). OAS Res. XXX, adopted by the Ninth International Conference of American States, reprinted in Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter-American System (Updated to Sept. 30, 2014), OEA/Ser L/V/1.4 rev.13 (2014), p. 17. OAS, American Convention on Human Rights, Nov. 22, 1969, O.A.S.T.S. No. 36 at 1, reprinted in Basic Documents, pp. 25–46, 1144 U.N.T.S. 1. No. 17955 (1979).
6 Interpretation of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man Within the Framework of Article 64 of the American Convention on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-10/89, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A_ No. 10, ¶¶ 35–45 (July 14, 1989).
7 “United States (U.S.): Response of the United States to Request for Precautionary Measures—Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 15, 2002,” 41 ILM 1015 (2002).
9 Resolution No. 2/11, Regarding the Situation of the Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, United States, Inter-Am. Comm'n H.R., MC 259/02; “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR): Pertinent Parts of July 23, 2002 Reiteration of Precautionary Measures regarding Detainees in Guantanamo Boy, Cuba, July 23, 2002,” 45 ILM 667 (2006); “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Pertinent Parts of July 29, 2004 Reiteration and Amplification of Precautionary Measures and Request for Additional Information: Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” 45 ILM 671 (2006); “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR): pertinent Parts of October 28, 2005 Reiteration and Further Amplification of Precautionary Measures, Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” 45 ILM 673.
10 The United States ratified the UN Convention against Torture in 1994.
11 Intro Note (E.Ct.H.R.) El-Masri v. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, December 13, 2012, 52 ILM 558 (2013); Intro Note (E.Ct.H.R.) to Al-Nashiri v. Poland, February 16, 2015, 54 ILM 571 (2015); Intro Note (E.Ct.H.R.) Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania, May 31, 2018, 57 ILM 715, (2018).
12 IACHR, Report No. 29/20, Case 12.865, supra note 2, ¶ 80.
13 Id. ¶ 82.
14 Ameziane, supra note 1, ¶ 52.
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