US Detainee Transfers: What Responsibilities Does the US Have When Presented with the Risk of Torture in Afghan Prisons?

As recently reported by Mike Yang Zhang,[1] a United Nations report released on January 20, 2013 revealed “systematic torture” in many Afghan-controlled detention facilities.[2] Shortly after the U.N. report was released, a delegation was assigned by President Karzai to investigate the allegations of torture.[3] After a two-week investigation, the government panel “acknowledged widespread torture of detainees.”[4] The U.N. report proposed recommendations for eliminating these instances of torture, not only to the government of Afghanistan, but also to “Troop Contributing Countries.”[5] <Read More>


Systematic Torture Continuing in Afghanistan

According to a United Nations report released on January 20, 2013, systematic torture remains a serious concern in many Afghan-controlled detention facilities, despite “concerted efforts” and “sustained support” by international partners and the Afghan Government to “root out torture and abusive detention practices.”[1]

The 139-page report, compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), finds that “more than half of 635 detainees interviewed (326 detainees) experienced torture and ill-treatment in numerous facilities of the <Read More>


Afghanistan and the United States Struggle over Releases of Detainees

After control of much of the Bagram detention center was handed over to Afghanistan in 2012, President Karzai “ordered authorities to review the cases of more than 3,000 prisoners” held at Bagram.[1]  In the course of 2012, “570 detainees have been released after acquittal in Afghan courts.”[2]  Nearly 1,000 prisoners have been released in 2012 overall, including prisoners whose cases never reached the Afghan courts.[3] This post analyzes the factors underlying these releases, and reports on the latest developments in <Read More>


The Afghan Review Structure for Detainees After the United States-Afghanistan Detainee Transfer (Part 2)

Track One: The Afghan Criminal Trial

As we have seen, on one track is a criminal trial under the Afghan court system, which is fraught with problems. While these trials are purportedly independent from direct U.S. participation, “[a]ll cases . . .  referred for criminal prosecution are sent to the Justice Center in Parwan (JCIP), an Afghan national security court within the DFIP created in 2010 with extensive U.S. government support.”[1]  Afghanistan continuously and extensively relies on the U.S. to <Read More>


The Afghan Review Structure for Detainees After the United States-Afghanistan Detainee Transfer (Part 1)

The Afghan Review Structure for Detainees After the United States-Afghanistan Detainee Transfer (Part 1)

The Afghan review procedures and standards for detainees who have been transferred from United States control contain numerous problems. The procedures are unclear; rules of evidence are obscure; and criteria for determining whether detainees are criminally prosecuted, detained without trial, or released, are ambiguous.

These problems have been amplified by a necessity to implement a complex review structure within a six-month deadline[1]  set by the Memorandum <Read More>