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Forum on legal issues regarding detainees in Guantanamo Bay


21 May 2004
Legal issues surrounding those detained in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba will be discussed at a free public forum being held next week by Southern Cross University’s School of Law and Justice and the Australian Red Cross.

The forum on Wednesday, May 26, at lunchtime coincides with a visit to Lismore by the Coordinator of the Australian Red Cross’ International Humanitarian Law Program, Laurie Berg, who is based in Sydney.

The seminar is even more relevant with recent claims of abuse by US authorities of Australian citizen David Hicks, who has been detained in Guantanamo Bay prison as an ‘unlawful combatant’ for more than two years without trial, after being captured and held in Afghanistan.

The three speakers at the forum will be:

Laurie Berg, Coordinator of the Australian Red Cross’ International Humanitarian Law Program. Ms Berg will discuss 'The role of the Red Cross in places of detention such as Guantanamo Bay';

Associate Professor Sam Garkawe, who lectures in human rights, international law, international criminal justice and victimology in Southern Cross University’s School of Law and Justice. Professor Garkawe will speak on 'Does law apply at all to Guantanamo Bay? The present case before the US Supreme Court'. He is also a founding editor of the Australian Journal of Human Rights; and

Brian Kinsella, a Lismore barrister and major in the Australian Army Legal Corps, where he has appeared for both the prosecution and defence in many courts martials and Defence Force Magistrates trials. Major Kinsella will speak on 'The Military Tribunal System in Australia and comparisons to the proposed Military Tribunals for selected Guantanamo Bay detainees'.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions after the speeches.

The forum ‘The detainees held at Guantanamo Bay: Legal Issues’ will be held in SCU’s School of Law and Justice, in room L1.11, on Wednesday, 26 May, between 1pm-2pm.

For further information contact SCU Media Liaison Sara Crowe Ph: 6620 3144 or Nigel Tapp Ph: 6620 3039. NB Associate Professor Sam Garkawe is available for comment before the seminar.