Kate Frisch


Instead, I argue that international human rights law precludes the existence of any "legal black hole." Human rights law protects the rights and liberties of individuals purely based on their status as human beings, regardless of their location. Therefore, an individual's rights cannot be suspended. As a result, it must be the responsibility of the entity that holds custody and control over the individual to protect those rights. In order to enforce the protection of human rights, international responsibilities stemming from treaties that have solidified the individual nature of the rights must be used as an instrument for enforcement to protect the legitimacy of human rights. Specifically, in the case of Guantanamo Bay, the United States is formally obligated to uphold such individual protections due to its commitments stemming from the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). This argument will be explored throughout the rest of the paper, as Part II discusses the history of the detention centers; Part III outlines the human rights violations that have occurred at Guantanamo, and; Part IV analyzes the legal obligations set forth in the treaties to which the United States is a party, and fleshes out the arguments surrounding the existence of a "legal black hole."