The purpose of this research paper is to examine how international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) are applied to the Guantánamo Bay detention center. This paper was completed through the research of international treaties, court cases, and secondary sources that thoroughly discussed issues pertaining to Guantánamo and international law.

This paper first examines the differences between the two laws by looking at the particular roles each is meant to play in the subject of international law, as well as how the two have been applied thus far to the situation at Guantánamo. Second, the paper discusses the topic of whether or not IHL and IHRL should be mutually exclusive, or can be interpreted alongside each other. In addition, a discussion of the opposing viewpoints on this topic will be presented including the United States argument of lex specialis, and the opposing arguments of the international community. Chapter three will cover the topic of extraterritorial application and how it affects the international treaties and court cases that deal with issues pertinent to Guantánamo. The fourth chapter discusses the effects that Guantánamo has on the reputation of the United States internationally, and how it affects human rights around the world. Chapter five discusses possible recommendations in order to achieve the long-term goal of ending the Guantanamo Bay controversy, and protecting and promoting human rights everywhere.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Bledsoe, Robert


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

International and Global Studies


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

December 2016