David Hicks: Partisan apologists do not help the truth, our understanding of the lessons involved, or indeed David Hicks

The complex legal situation applying to David Hicks can cause confusion, but there is no excuse when ideological or emotive apologists for Hicks disregard or twist the facts to obscure objective discussion of the important issues involved.


Letter to The Canberra Times
Monday, 29 October 2012
(published Thursday, 01 November 2012)

John Richardson and Marilyn Shepherd (Letters, October 29) avoid all of my four substantive points about the complex legal situation applying to David Hicks.

John also suggests that Hicks could not be interned as a captured belligerent based on the contradictory notion that the Afghanistan War somehow did not exist but that the US still resorted to a “brutal and illegal act of aggression”.

In international law armed conflict exists as a material fact, not least to prevent partisan claims that it does or does not exist.

And so the responsibilities and protections of international law apply automatically despite denials — or a presumed dependence on “declarations of war” (as John believes) which have been illegal since the UN Charter was promulgated in 1945.

Moreover, the US-led multinational intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, that evolved into the International Security Assistance Force helping Afghanistan, was legally endorsed by UN Security Council Resolutions 1378, 1383 and 1386, with six-monthly extensions of the ISAF mandate ever since.

Both writers again ignore that Hicks has freely admitted to serving under arms with the Taliban during the war.

Both again fail to distinguish between Hicks’ consequent and undoubtedly lawful internment as a captured belligerent and the justifiably contested legality of his later and separate criminal trial, conviction and sentence. 

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