Senior Law Lord Attacks the US on Human Rights; A Reversal of History: Lord Bingham and Ex-US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

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IN FRONT of many of London's top lawyers, Lord Bingham launched anextraordinary attack on America's human rights record last night. Lord Bingham,a senior law lord and former Lord Chief Justice, said the tragedy of the 20thcentury was that it had been blighted by genocide although that had been offsetby advances in human rights and the creation of the UN. But the greatdisappointment, he said, had been the backward steps taken by the United Statesfrom its long tradition of supporting human rights. It was a terrible reversalof history that he hoped would be overcome.

Bingham was making his speech at the Serpentine Gallery at the launch ofPhilippe Sands' book Torture Team. Many of the guests, who included GeoffreyRobertson QC, Simon Schama, Simon Jenkins and Henry Porter, were taken aback bythe candour of his remarks.

Also at the party was Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti who expressed her confidencethat the controversial 42-day detention without trial proposal will be defeatedin the Commons: "I think we're on course. …