Rights of U.S. on foreign soil; militant combatants @ Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: menext-ga
List Price: $13.33
17 Aug 2006 20:21 PDT
Expires: 16 Sep 2006 20:21 PDT
Question ID: 757202
***Concerning a U.S. military base located in foreign land (Osan located in South Korea or Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba), does the United States and the U.S. military OWN the land and the freedom to do whatever they (U.S. military) like with it? (say, without prior approval from the host country?) There might be a large degree of ambiguity in your findings, any explanation would be acceptable... ***What if I walk onto a U.S. embassy located on foreign land, does the land on which the embassy resides belong to the U.S, including the freedom to do whatever they (U.S. military) like with it? ***What is the advantage, if any, to holding "militant combatants" on Guantanamo Bay Naval Base?
Re: Rights of U.S. on foreign soil; militant combatants @ Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Answered By: tisme-ga on 17 Aug 2006 20:44 PDT
Hello menextg-ga, I have answered your questions pulling heavily on my research from Wikipedia. Question #1: The USA does not own the land at Guantanamo Bay, but they do have the rights to do with the land what they want and pretty much have complete control of it at the moment. "The United States controls the land on both sides of the southern part of Guantánamo Bay (Bahía de Guantánamo in Spanish) under a lease set up in the wake of the 1898 Spanish-American War. The Cuban government denounces the lease on grounds that article 52 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties voids treaties procured by force or its threatened use." SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_Naval_Base In the case of South Korea, there is communication with South Korean, but with regards to the base in Cuba, the United States does not give Cuba a lot of input into what happens there. Question #2: The land is still owned by the host country, but diplomatic missions are exempt from local law and "in almost all respects treated as part of the territory of the home country." While there is not the freedom to do whatever, there are many examples in history where embassy's played a key role in protecting people. "As the host country may not enter the representing country's embassy without permission, embassies are sometimes used by refugees escaping from either the host country or a third country. For example, North Korean nationals, who would be arrested and deported from China upon discovery, have sought sanctuary at various third-country embassies in China. Once inside the embassy, diplomatic channels can be used to solve the issue and send the refugees to another country." SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy (there are also examples of violations of embassy extraterritoriality available on this page, which proves that complete freedom is not there). Question #3: The clear advantage to holding "militant combatants" on Guantanama Bay is that, in theory at least, they are beyond the reach of the courts of the United States because they are not on US territory, and therefore do not have all of the rights that come with being on US soil. "The status of this prison, above political beliefs, is not clear and may be against Human Rights and democratic ethics and laws, although U.S. courts have partially accepted the status of the prison as existing outside many of the U.S. laws, with the caveat that additional rights be provided regarding due process." SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guant%C3%A1namo_Bay_detainment_camp It is important to note that this idea is being challenged constantly in the courts and in public/political opinion and the jury is still out on what advantages will remain once everything is sorted out. The viewpoint of the US government is as follows: "The Executive branch of the U.S. government has classified the detainees in Camp X-Ray as "enemy combatants," rather than prisoners of war (POWs), which they claim means that they do not have to be conferred the rights granted to POWs under the Geneva Conventions. The U.S. government justifies this designation by claiming that they do not have the status of either regular soldiers nor that of guerrillas, and they are not part of a regular army or militia." SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guant%C3%A1namo_Bay_detainment_camp Recommended further reading: Enemy Combatants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_combatant Geneva COnventions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions Please let me know if you require any clarification and I will do my best to further assist you. All the best, tisme-ga
rated this answer:
and gave an additional tip of:
At first I felt the answers were mediocre, 3 stars at best - the researcher seemed to suppy his entire response with supplements from Wikipedia ; I'm far from computer illiterate, I had already visited most of those Wikipedia links because of what a quick and usually satisfying source of information it can be (credible or not) - however, it has never been, and most likely never will be, an authorized, valid, "researchable" source of info, only casual at most. The clarification is what saved him - he did more homework, added more examples; I guess I get negative points for not really emphasizing clearly, in the first place, that I wanted him to focus on Cuba being this "exception" to disputed land treaties, a case where it happened a long time ago and now a new government occupies the old and doesn't recognize the treaty. I hold no ill will against the researcher for running to Wikipedia, only frown and want to caution him that, quite frankly, 1) it's too easy, 2) it's not an "official" source, 3) and I'm willing to bet at some of your clients here have already (at least, attempted) to use it before they ask - in my case, I did an hour of research on Wikipedia which ended in pseudo-confusion and not a lot of resolve or closure on the issue - international law has never been my strong point. :) I didn't intend on paying someone $$$ to do exactly what I did, I thought the $10 he would clear after Google's cut would be worth more than that. :-/ For an outstanding recovery from what began as an average answer, I would like to tip this researcher $5. Points to the other researcher for chipping in, I appreciate it.
Re: Rights of U.S. on foreign soil; militant combatants @ Guantanamo Bay Naval B
From: myoarin-ga on 20 Aug 2006 03:59 PDT
The major information is Tisme's answer is certainly correct. One point, however, ownership of embassy property: In many cases, the US abroad and foreign countries in Washington and elsewhere have purchased the land on which the embassy stands. This site describes France's purchase of property in Canada for the embassy: http://www.ambafrance-ca.org/ambafrance-ca.org_non_ssl/gallery/genese/pages/ch_terr.htm And this one, the purchase by Estonia of property in Washington, DC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_Estonia_in_Washington and Armenia and Italy and Turkey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_Armenia_in_Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_Italy_in_Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_Turkey_in_Washington This site gives the history of the US Embassy in Berlin, where property was purchased in 1930, and lay unused from WW II till reunification: http://www.usembassy.de/germany/embassy_history.html In contrast, the site about the one in India speaks of land "allocated: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/the_american_embassy.html and this one describes the situation for the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, suggesting that ownership of embassy property is based on mutuality between the two nations: http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1993/019303.shtml Whether the land is owned, allocated or leased, however, has no effect on the extraterritorial rights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterritoriality Perhaps it should also be mentioned that embassies are under the State Department; the U.S. Military is not in charge "to do whatever they (U.S. military) like with it." Diplomatic staff are in a foreign country at the pleasure of that country and can be requested to leave at any time (usually not without reason, and usually with reciprocal demand that a diplomat in the other country be requested to leave) - "persona non grata": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_non_grata
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