Catherine Moore met recently with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which is making its first official visit to the United States from Oct. 11-24 to discuss the ongoing detention of prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Military Commissions set up to try detainees there.
Moore represents Nashwan al-Tamir, a Guantanamo detainee who is being tried by the Military Commissions as Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi. As international law counsel on the hybrid military and pro-bono civilian attorney team, Moore advises on issues including the law of armed conflict, jus ad bellum (the law surrounding the use of force) and international human rights law.
The Working Group is an extension of the UN Human Rights Council and has a mandate to investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or otherwise inconsistently with the relevant international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or in the relevant international legal instruments accepted by the states concerned in the investigation. The Working Group is to submit its final report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.
Representing a Guantanamo detainee, especially one with an active Military Commissions case, is challenging, Moore said; complex international and domestic legal issues are at stake and, moreover, the legal team operates at a distance from its client.
“The right to a fair trial, as guaranteed by not only our Constitution, but by international human rights law and the law of armed conflict, includes the right to counsel. While there are many flaws with the current Military Commissions system, my role ensures that Mr. al-Tamir has a competent legal team representing him. International law plays a key part of the case against him,” Moore said.