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US 'to circumvent Geneva Conventions'
The Daily Telegraph
May 18, 2006

THE Pentagon is considering new rules on military interrogations that treat "war on terror" detainees differently from prisoners protected by the Geneva Conventions, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

Mr Rumsfeld said debate over unresolved "definitional issues" have held up final approval of a new army field manual on intelligence interrogations for weeks.

"There is a debate over the difference between a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention and an unlawful combatant in a situation that is different from the situation envisioned by the Geneva Convention," he said.

"And those issues are being wrestled with at the present time," he told members of a Senate subcommittee.

A law passed by Congress in December bans the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners in US custody anywhere in the world. It also limits US military interrogators to procedures and techniques spelled out in the army field manual.

Pentagon officials have said the procedures in the new manual will be detailed in a classified annex to make it more difficult for enemy combatants to train against them.

Although he did not elaborate, Mr Rumsfeld's comments suggested that the Pentagon is considering permitting interrogation techniques to be used against "war on terror" detainees that would not be permitted against prisoners who enjoy Geneva Convention protections.

"But you can have every confidence that the army field manual - which is, of course, as far as I'm concerned, almost ready to come out - will be seen as and in fact be consistent with US law," Mr Rumsfeld said.

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