Rear Admiral John Hutson, dean and president, Franklin Pierce Law Center
Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, U.S. Marine Corps.
Keeping America Safe and Safeguarding American Values
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.
“Continuing the Conversation” immediately following the program in Stern 102.
This panel will address the question of how we can fight terrorists and strengthen our security in ways that are strong and effective and consonant with our values and our Constitution.
Since the beginning of the human rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, advocates of human rights and national security experts have often been at odds with one another. The former support the inviobility of human rights, while the latter stress the necessity of national security protection.
In times of war, including the ongoing war on terrorism, a fundamental human right that often draws attention is the right to be free from torture. The Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and questions regarding detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base have underlined the significance of this human right. Legal documents that are relevant to the issue of torture and abuse include the following:
•Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
•Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions:
The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture…
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment…
•Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
•Federal Torture Statute (implementing the Convention Against Torture):
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from:
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.
About the Speakers
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson is the dean and president of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, NH. He earned his JD degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and his LL. M. degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Dean Hutson was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and assumed duties as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy in May 1997. As the Navy JAG, he was the senior uniformed legal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (with two gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal, as well as other awards. Admiral Hutson is a noted commentator on matters related to the military, human rights, and the rule of law.
Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch is a former prosecutor in the Office of Military Commissions, which is the office responsible for prosecuting selected detainees for war crimes held at Guantanamo Bay. The Wall Street Journal featured his decision not to prosecute a Guantanamo detainee because of his concerns that the man had been subject to torture. In August 2006, Lt. Col. Couch assumed his current duties as a military judge on the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. In 2008, he received his LL.M degree, with highest honors, from The George Washington University School of Law. Lt. Col. Couch’s military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is the recipient of the American Bar Associations 2007 Norm Maleng “Minister of Justice” Award.