S.1220 - Human Rights Information Act105th Congress (1997-1998)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Dodd, Christopher J. [D-CT] (Introduced 09/25/1997)|
|Committees:||Senate - Governmental Affairs|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 09/25/1997 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs. (All Actions)|
This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
Text: S.1220 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
There is one version of the bill.
Text available as:
- PDF (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?
Introduced in Senate (09/25/1997)
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [S. 1220 Introduced in Senate (IS)] 105th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1220 To provide a process for declassifying on an expedited basis certain documents relating to human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES September 25, 1997 Mr. Dodd (for himself, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Bumpers, and Mrs. Murray) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To provide a process for declassifying on an expedited basis certain documents relating to human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Human Rights Information Act''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds the following: (1) Agencies of the Government of the United States have information on human rights violations in Guatemala and Honduras. (2) Members of both Houses of Congress have repeatedly asked the Administration for information on Guatemalan and Honduran human rights cases. (3) The Guatemalan peace accords, which the Government of the United States firmly supports, has as an important and vital component the establishment of the Commission for the Historical Clarification of Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence which have Caused Suffering to the Guatemalan People (referred to in this Act as the ``Clarification Commission''). The Clarification Commission will investigate cases of human rights violations and abuses by both parties to the civil conflict in Guatemala and will need all available information to fulfill its mandate. (4) The National Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights in the Republic of Honduras has been requesting United States Government documentation on human rights violations in Honduras since November 15, 1993. The Commissioner's request has been partly fulfilled, but is still pending. The request has been supported by national and international human rights nongovernmental organizations as well as members of both Houses of Congress. (5) Victims and survivors of human rights violations, including United States citizens and their relatives, have also been requesting the information referred to in paragraphs (3) and (4). Survivors and the relatives of victims have a right to know what happened. The requests have been supported by national and international human rights nongovernmental organizations as well as members of both Houses of Congress. (6) The United States should make the information it has on human rights abuses available to the public as part of the United States commitment to democracy in Central America. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Human rights record.--The term ``human rights record'' means a record in the possession, custody, or control of the United States Government containing information about gross human rights violations committed after 1944. (2) Agency.--The term ``agency'' means any agency of the United States Government charged with the conduct of foreign policy or foreign intelligence, including the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense (and all of its components), the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Department of Justice (and all of its components), the National Security Council, and the Executive Office of the President. SEC. 4. IDENTIFICATION, REVIEW, AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS REGARDING GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS. (a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provision of this Act shall govern the declassification and public disclosure of human rights records by agencies. (b) Identification of Records.--Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, each agency shall identify, review, and organize all human rights records regarding activities occurring in Guatemala and Honduras after 1944 for the purpose of declassifying and disclosing the records to the public. Except as provided in section 5, all records described in the preceding sentence shall be made available to the public not later than 30 days after a review under this section is completed. (c) Report to Congress.--Not later than 150 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall report to Congress regarding each agency's compliance with the provisions of this Act. SEC. 5. GROUNDS FOR POSTPONEMENT OF PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS. (a) In General.--An agency may postpone public disclosure of a human rights record or particular information in a human rights record only if the agency determines that there is clear and convincing evidence that-- (1) the threat to the military defense, intelligence operations, or conduct of foreign relations of the United States raised by public disclosure of the human rights record is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest, and such public disclosure would reveal-- (A) an intelligence agent whose identity currently requires protection; (B) an intelligence source or method-- (i) which is being utilized, or reasonably expected to be utilized, by the United States Government; (ii) which has not been officially disclosed; and (iii) the disclosure of which would interfere with the conduct of intelligence activities; or (C) any other matter currently relating to the military defense, intelligence operations, or conduct of foreign relations of the United States, the disclosure of which would demonstrably impair the national security of the United States; (2) the public disclosure of the human rights record would reveal the name or identity of a living individual who provided confidential information to the United States and would pose a substantial risk of harm to that individual; (3) the public disclosure of the human rights record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and that invasion of privacy is so substantial that it outweighs the public interest; or (4) the public disclosure of the human rights record would compromise the existence of an understanding of confidentiality currently requiring protection between a Government agent and a cooperating individual or a foreign government, and public disclosure would be so harmful that it outweighs the public interest. (b) Special Treatment of Certain Information.--It shall not be grounds for postponement of disclosure of a human rights record that an individual named in the human rights record was an intelligence asset of the United States Government, although the existence of such relationship may be withheld if the criteria set forth in subsection (a) are met. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term an ``intelligence asset'' means a covert agent as defined in section 606(4) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 426(4)). SEC. 6. REQUEST FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS FROM OFFICIAL ENTITIES IN OTHER LATIN AMERICAN CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES. In the event that an agency of the United States receives a request for human rights records from an entity created by the United Nations or the Organization of American States similar to the Guatemalan Clarification Commission, or from the principal justice or human rights official of a Latin American or Caribbean country who is investigating a pattern of gross human rights violations, the agency shall conduct a review of records as described in section 4 and shall declassify and publicly disclose such records in accordance with the standards and procedures set forth in this Act. SEC. 7. REVIEW OF DECISIONS TO WITHHOLD RECORDS. (a) Duties of the Appeals Panel.--The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (referred to in this Act as the ``Appeals Panel''), established under Executive Order No. 12958, shall review determinations by an agency to postpone public disclosure of any human rights record. (b) Determinations of the Appeals Panel.-- (1) In general.--The Appeals Panel shall direct that all human rights records be disclosed to the public, unless the Appeals Panel determines that there is clear and convincing evidence that-- (A) the record is not a human rights record; or (B) the human rights record or particular information in the human rights record qualifies for postponement of disclosure pursuant to section 5. (2) Treatment in cases of nondisclosure.--If the Appeals Panel concurs with an agency decision to postpone disclosure of a human rights record, the Appeals Panel shall determine, in consultation with the originating agency and consistent with the standards set forth in this Act, which, if any, of the alternative forms of disclosure described in paragraph (3) shall be made by the agency. (3) Alternative forms of disclosure.--The forms of disclosure described in this paragraph are as follows: (A) Disclosure of any reasonably segregable portion of the human rights record after deletion of the portions described in paragraph (1). (B) Disclosure of a record that is a substitute for information which is not disclosed. (C) Disclosure of a summary of the information contained in the human rights record. (4) Notification of determination.-- (A) In general.--Upon completion of its review, the Appeals Panel shall notify the head of the agency in control or possession of the human rights record that was the subject of the review of its determination and shall, not later than 14 days after the determination, publish the determination in the Federal Register. (B) Notice to president.--The Appeals Panel shall notify the President of its determination. The notice shall contain a written unclassified justification for its determination, including an explanation of the application of the standards contained in section 5. (5) General procedures.--The Appeals Panel shall publish in the Federal Register guidelines regarding its policy and procedures for adjudicating appeals. (c) Presidential Authority Over Appeals Panel Determination.-- (1) Public disclosure or postponement of disclosure.--The President shall have the sole and nondelegable authority to review any determination of the Appeals Board under this Act, and such review shall be based on the standards set forth in section 5. Not later than 30 days after the Appeals Panel's determination and notification to the agency pursuant to subsection (b)(4), the President shall provide the Appeals Panel with an unclassified written certification specifying the President's decision and stating the reasons for the decision, including in the case of a determination to postpone disclosure, the standards set forth in section 5 which are the basis for the President's determination. (2) Record of presidential postponement.--The Appeals Panel shall, upon receipt of the President's determination, publish in the Federal Register a copy of any unclassified written certification, statement, and other materials transmitted by or on behalf of the President with regard to the postponement of disclosure of a human rights record. SEC. 8. REPORT REGARDING OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS. Upon completion of the review and disclosure of the human rights records relating to Guatemala and Honduras, the Information Security Policy Advisory Council, established pursuant to Executive Order No. 12958, shall report to Congress on the desirability and feasibility of declassification of human rights records relating to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report shall be available to the public. SEC. 9. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION. (a) Freedom of Information Act.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit any right to file a request with any executive agency or seek judicial review of a decision pursuant to section 552 of title 5, United States Code. (b) Judicial Review.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preclude judicial review, under chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code, of final actions taken or required to be taken under this Act. SEC. 10. CREATION OF POSITIONS. For purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Act, there shall be 2 additional positions in the Appeals Panel. The positions shall be filled by the President, based on the recommendations of the American Historical Association, the Latin American Studies Association, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, USA. <all>