Dutch foreign minister Ben Bot has welcomed US president George Bush’s statement that secret CIA cells for terrorist suspects outside the US do exist.
However, Bot says he is disappointed that his American counterpart Condaleezza Rice was unwilling to take him into her confidence earlier, despite repeated requests for information and he was not surprised that the secret cells had existed. The minister went on to say that it is important that all terrorist detainees fall under the Geneva Convention to give the prisoners access to legal representation. He said that he will wait for a proposal from Bush on the setting up of a special military court for terror suspects held at Guantamo Bay before making further comments. Bot believes Bush now will bow to international and public opinion at home and announce such an initiative.
But not all reactions to Bush’s Wednesday speech were positive. Gert Jan Knoops, a professor of international criminal law, told BNR radio that the announcement had raised more questions that it answered. Bush did not, for example, name the countries involved not did he address the question of how prisoners had been treated.
And left-wing D66 Euro MP Sophie in ‘t Veld wants to know how European governments were involved with the secret detention centres. In his speech yesterday, Bush said the centres have now been closed down.
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