Combatant Status and the "War on Terror": Lessons from the Hicks Case

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Abstract

David Hicks is now back in Australia. The media attention that accompanied his detention at Guantanamo Bay has largely dissipated. However, it would be unfortunate if we forgot about Hicks. The legal issues surrounding his detention and aborted prosecution by US authorities carry enduring implications for the conduct of the international 'war on terror'.

This article focuses on two issues arising from the Hicks case. The first concerns the level of protection to which Hicks was entitled under international law. The second point relates to the attempt by US military prosecutors to charge Hicks with attempted murder. The inclusion of this charge on the draft indictment revealed a serious confusion about the legal status of so-called 'unlawful combatants'. Although the charge was ultimately dropped, there is little sign that the underlying misconception has been remedied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-69
JournalAlternative Law Journal
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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