|Resolution on the Detention of American Citizens Classified as "Unlawful Enemy Combatants"|
The American Jewish Committee
Resolution on the Detention of American Citizens Classified as "Unlawful Enemy Combatants"
Since September 11th, the American Jewish Committee has continued to seek the appropriate balance between the need for new and effective methods of combating terrorism and the importance of defending our constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties and principles of due process.
Recently, the government has asserted the right to detain indefinitely American citizens it classifies as "unlawful enemy combatants" without affording those citizens the opportunity to challenge this classification in court and without access to the legal counsel necessary to do so.
While AJC commends the government for the significant steps it has taken to enhance our national security, denying citizens the fundamental right to counsel and access to the courts deprives these citizens of the due process they are entitled to under the Constitution, does not achieve the proper security/civil liberties balance, and harms the prestige of the United States throughout the world. Therefore, AJC proposes that US citizens classified as "unlawful enemy combatants" be granted judicial review and access to legal counsel on the preliminary issue of whether they are illegal combatants. We recognize that, in connection with such judicial review and access to legal counsel, it may be appropriate to establish security precautions including clearing the courtroom, sealing the record, and creating a pool of counsel who are cleared for national security matters.
Approved by the Board of Governors on February 16, 2003 Date: