Skip to content

The Oath

Premiere Date: September 21, 2010

The Oath in Context

U.S. Policy in the Wake of 9/11: Geneva Conventions

The George W. Bush administration determined that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to "enemy combatants" detained at the Guantánamo Bay facility in Cuba.



A cornerstone of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified after World War II, traces its roots to the late 19th century. What initially was conceived of as a treaty created out of concern for wounded soldiers eventually came to encompass protection for prisoners of war, civilians and civilian non-combatants. The convention outlaws the taking of hostages and, according to the Congressional Research Service, prohibits "'cruel treatment and torture' and '[o]utrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.'"

The George W. Bush administration determined that the Geneva Conventions (which include the original 1949 Geneva Convention, plus other treaties and protocols) did not apply to "enemy combatants" detained at the Guantánamo Bay facility in Cuba, which sparked much controversy surrounding the treatment of Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners of war.

Sources
» History News Network. "What is the Geneva Convention?"
» Congressional Research Service. "Overview and Analysis of Senate Amendment Concerning Interrogation of Detainees."

Credit: Sara Wood / Department of Defense



Are you aware of our Comment Policy?

* Your email address is for verification purposes only and will not be published, shared, or sold to other entities.