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37 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 309 (2005-2006)
Ghost Prisoners and Black Sites: Extraordinary Rendition under International Law

handle is hein.journals/cwrint37 and id is 315 raw text is: GHOST PRISONERS AND BLACK SITES: EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION
Leila Nadya Sadat t
The waging of war inevitably involves the taking of prisoners, and
the U.S. Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)' has been no exception.
Some prisoners have been detained abroad at the behest of the United States
government; others are held in U.S. interrogation facilities in the U.S. or
abroad, such as the prisons at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba); Bagram Air Force
Base (Afghanistan) or Abu Ghraib (Iraq); others, it has even been alleged,
are being held at sea.2 Human Rights groups have probably over-estimated
the total number of prisoners to be as high as 70,000;3 the number of known
prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and U.S. prisons
according to available published sources is more consistent with a figure of
12,000 or 15,000.4 Whatever the total number of prisoners, the legal
t Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. I
am grateful to Professor Detlev Vagts for his substantial contribution to this essay, and to
Diane Amann, Kathleen Clark, Stephen Legomsky and the participants in the Case Western
Reserve University School of Law Symposium: Torture and the War on Terror for their
helpful comments. Dorie Bertram, Claudine Chastain, Julie Lamm, Marissa Maclennan, and
Marguerite Roy provided helpful research assistance.
1 See Press Release, The White House, The Global War on Terrorism: The First 100
Days, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/12/1 O0dayreport.html.
This article does not address the threshold question of whether it is possible to characterize
the use of military force against terrorist groups as a war in the legal sense. Given that the
Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts were clearly international armed conflicts within the meaning
of international humanitarian law that determination is unnecessary to the discussion of the
issues raised herein. I have expressed my views of that subject elsewhere, see Leila Nadya
Sadat, Terrorism and the Rule of Law, 3 WASH. U. GLOBAL STUD. L. REv. 135 (2004)
[hereinafter Sadat, Terrorism].
2 There have been credible allegations of detention centers existing on U.S. Naval Ves-
sels. See Association of the Bar of the City of New York & Center for Human Rights and
Global Justice, New York University School of Law, Torture by Proxy: International and
Domestic Law Applicable to Extraordinary Renditions 3, 3-4 n.6 (Oct. 29, 2004), avail-
able at http://www.nyuhr.org/docs/TortureByProxy.pdf [hereinafter NY City Bar Report].
3 United States of America, Guant6namo and beyond. The Continuing Pursuit of Un-
checked Executive Power, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, May 13, 2005, http://web.amnesty.
4 See, e.g., Isabel Hilton, The 8001b Gorilla in American Foreign Policy: Alleged Terror
Suspects are Held Incommunicado All Over the World, GUARDIAN (London), July 28, 2004,

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