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U.S. To Follow Geneva Treaty On Detainees

U.S. military police lead a detainee to his cell in the Guantanamo Bay detention center (file photo) (epa) July 11, 2006 -- The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush said today that all detainees in U.S. military custody, including those held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, are entitled to protections guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions.

The policy is outlined in a new Defense Department memo that White House spokesman Tony Snow says reflects a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating military tribunals set up to try terror suspects.

In that decision, the court also said a key provision of the Geneva Conventions, which guarantees basic human rights, also applies to suspected terrorists.

Bush had previously said terror suspects held in Guantanamo were "illegal combatants" and were therefore not subject to the Geneva Conventions' provisions on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Snow insisted that all U.S. detainees have been treated humanely and said the memo was not a reversal of policy.

("The New York Times," AP)