The Cleveland Principles were drafted by the experts (listed below) who participated in the November 7, 2005, "Torture and the War on Terror,"Conference at Case Western Reserve University School of Law - which was a Centennial Regional Meeting of the American Society of International Law, the Annual Meeting of the American National Section of the International Association of Penal Law, and a Regional Meeting of the International Law Association.
The Cleveland Principles are intended as a clear restatement, written in plain English, of the fundamental international legal rules that apply to the treatment of persons in connection with the so-called "Global War on Terror." The goal was to produce a text that would be easy for the American public, members of the military, and members of Congress to understand — a text that would spell out that in the context of the Global War on Terror, there is no "law-free zone," torture can never be justified; outsourcing torture is unlawful; and that government personnel may be criminally liable for involvement in acts of torture.
In the context of revelations about: the mistreatment detainees at U.S.detention centers in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan; the practice of "irregular rendition" as a means of outsourcing torture; the existence of US-created "black sites" where "ghost detainees" are interrogated abroad; and the content of the leaked "White House Torture memos" - the Cleveland Principles were adopted by the undersigned international experts who took part in the "Torture and the War on Terror" Conference at Case Western Reserve University School of Law on October 7, 2005. They have been endorsed by the numerous other experts whose names are also listed below. The Principles are intended as a clear restatement, written in plain English, of the fundamental international legal rules that apply to the treatment of persons in connection with the so-called "Global War on Terror."
The Cleveland Principles:
Principle 1: With respect to the "Global War on Terror," there is no law-free zone.
-- International Law (which includes International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law, and International Criminal Law) applies to all contexts and persons in the "Global War on Terror."
-- The "Global War on Terror" is not in its entirety an armed conflict. When, and for so long as, the "Global War on Terror" does manifest itself in armed conflict, the rights of persons detained and the obligations of detaining authorities, are governed by nternational Humanitarian Law, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions.
-- International Human Rights Law, including the Convention Against Torture and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, also applies to situations of armed conflict, to the extent that its provisions are not inconsistent with applicable international humanitarian law.
-- Whenever persons are detained outside the factual framework of armed conflict, international humanitarian law is not applicable and international human rights law, including the Convention Against Torture and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, applies instead.
Principle 2: Whenever there is any doubt about whether an individual apprehended in the Global War on Terror is entitled to Prisoner of War status, the decision must be made on a case-by-case basis by a competent tribunal.
-- Persons who do not qualify for POW status under the Third Geneva Convention are still entitled to humane treatment and the other applicable guarantees of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
-- In addition, such persons must not be subject to acts of torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in accordance with the Torture convention.
Principle 3: Nothing in the "Global War on Terror" can justify violating the prohibition on committing acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
-- Interrogation in the context of the "Global War on Terror," whether conducted by military personnel or intelligence agents, and whether conducted inside or outside of the State's territory, must never cross the boundaries of humane treatment.
Principle 4: Use of so-called "irregular rendition" as a means of outsourcing torture to third countries is unlawful.
-- No person acting as an agent of a government may participate in the transfer of any person to any country for interrogation where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
-- Diplomatic assurances from the receiving State that the person will not be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatmentare not a sufficient basis upon which it may be determined that such treatment or punishment will not be imposed, where the receiving State has demonstrated a history of engaging in such treatment.
Principle 5: Governments and Government personnel are obligated to strictly adhere to the international law applicable to the "Global War on Terror" as set forth in the above principles.
-- States are responsible under international law for violations of these principles committed by the Government's personnel or agents, or by private parties exercising traditional government functions with the Government's acquiescence, whether the act occurs in the territory of the State or outside the territory of the State.
-- Persons who breach or order violations of these principles, or who aid and abet the breach of these principles, or who fail to punish subordinates who have committed breaches of these principles, may face individual criminal liability at home and/or in foreign or international courts.
The following experts who participated in the "Torture and the War on Terrorism" Conference at Case Western Reserve University School of Law on November 7, 2005, endorse the Cleveland Principles:
Jose E. Alvarez, Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law and Diplomacy at Columbia University School of Law, and former Attorney Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law and President of the Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University, formerly U.N. Rapporteur for Afghanistan, UN Commission on Human Rights Independent Expert on the Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and Chairman of the U.N. Committee of Experts to Investigate Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Former Yugoslavia.
William M. Carter, Jr., Associate Professor of Law specializing in Human Rights Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Roger S. Clark, Board of Governors Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law, Camden.
Hiram E. Chodosh, Associate Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker & Hosteler Professor of Law, Case Reserve University School of Law.
Laura Dickinson, Associate Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law, formerly Senior Policy Adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugosalvia and Rwanda and former Justice of the South Africa Constitutional Court.
Amos Guiora, Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, formerly Judge Advocate General of the Israeli Defense Force.
Jessie Hill, Assistant Professor of Law and Assistant Director, Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, formerly Trial Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, Dean of Fraklin Pierce Law Center, formerly Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy.
Robert P. Lawry, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Professional Ethics, Case Western Reserve University.
Elisa Massimino Washington Director of Human Rights First.
Jeff McMahan, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University.
Col. (Ret.) Michael Newton, Acting Professor of Clinical Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law, formerly Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State.
Ellen Podgor, Culverhouse Chair 2005-06 and Visiting Professor of Law, Stetson Law School, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law.
Leila Nadya Sadat, Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law, formerly Federal Commissioner on the US Commission on Onternational Religious Freedom.
William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, and member of the International Truth Commission for Sierra Leone.
Michael P. Scharf, Professor of Law and Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, formerly Counsel to the Counter-Terrorism Bureau and Attorney-Adviser for United Nations Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.