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Guantanamo military commission

Guantanamo military commission
Military commissions are among procedures planned by the U.S. George W. Bush administration to deal with detainees they link to al-Qaeda.[1] The American Bar Association announced in 2002 during the Bush administration that: "In response to the unprecedented attacks of September 11, on November 13, 2001, the President announced that certain non-citizens (of the USA) would be subject to detention and trial by military authorities. The order provides that non-citizens whom the President deems to be, or to have been, members of the al Qaeda organization or to have engaged in, aided or abetted, or conspired to commit acts of international terrorism that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause, injury to or adverse effects on the United States or its citizens, or to have knowingly harbored such individuals, are subject to detention by military authorities and trial before a military commission."[2] On September 28 and September 29, 2006, the US Senate and US House of Representatives, respectively, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a controversial bill that allows the President to designate certain people with the status of "unlawful enemy combatants" thus making them subject to military commissions, where they have fewer civil rights than in regular trials.

Major Elizabeth Kubala Spokesperson for the Office of Military Commissions gives a press briefing. authority to hold tribunals and is required to get authorization to do so from the United States Congress. With the War Crimes Act in mind, this ruling presented the Bush administration with the risk of criminal liability for war crimes. To address these legal problems, among other reasons, the Military Commissions Act was adopted.

Comparison with the Supreme Court judgment American justice system
On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld" Docket 05-194, with a 5-3 decision for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, effectively declaring that trying Guantanamo Bay detainees under the Guantanamo military commission (known also as Military Tribunal) was illegal under US law and the Geneva Conventions.[3] Quoting the judgement (Paragraph 4, page 4), "4. The military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949." Ultimately the Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush does not have the sole

Court room where initial Guantanamo military commissions convened.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The United States has two parallel justice systems, with laws, statutes, precedents, rules of evidence, and paths for appeal. Under these justice systems prisoners have certain rights. They have a right to know the evidence against them; they have a right to protect themselves against self-incrimination; they have a right to legal counsel; they have a right to have the witnesses against them cross-examined. The two parallel justice systems are the Judicial Branch of the US Government, and a slightly streamlined justice system named the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) for people under military jurisdiction. People undergoing a military court martial are entitled to the same basic rights as those in the civilian justice system. The Guantanamo military trials do not operate according to either system of justice. The differences include: • The accused are not allowed access to all the evidence against them. The Presiding Officers are authorized to consider secret evidence the accused have no opportunity to refute. • It may be possible for the commission to consider evidence that was extracted through coercive interrogation techniques before the enactment of the Detainee Treatment Act.[4] However, legally the commission is restricted from considering any evidence extracted by torture, as defined by the Department of Defense.[5] • The Appointing Officer in overall charge of the commissions is sitting in on them. He is authorized to shut down any commission, without warning, and without explanation. • The proceedings may be closed at the discretion of the Presiding Officer, so that secret information may be discussed by the commission. • The accused are not permitted a free choice of attorneys, as they can only use military lawyers or those civilian attorneys eligible for the Secret security clearance.[6] • Because the accused are charged as unlawful combatants, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated that an acquittal on all charges by the commission is no guarantee of a release.[7]

Guantanamo military commission

The commission members
Initially the identity of the commission members were to be kept hidden, and the commission was to consist of a Presiding Officer (a lawyer), at least four other officers (between eight and eleven in capital cases), and one alternate. The structure of the commission was radically revised in late 2004. The impartiality of five of the officers was challenged, and two of the officers were removed. All five officers of the commission have an equal vote, the Presiding Officer performs the additional role of administering the trial, much as a judge would in a civil trial.

Legal advisors
Since the officers forming the tribunal were not lawyers they are provided with a team of military lawyers, who they could call of for advice, and who provided an opinion on their decisions. See particularly Moazzam Begg.

The lawyers Security precautions
On January 2, 2008 Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard offered an account of the security precautions reporters go through before they can attend the hearings[12]: • Reporters were only allowed to bring in one pen; • Female reporters were frisked if they wore underwire bras; • Reporters were not allowed to bring in their traditional coil-ring notepads; • The bus bringing reporters to the hearing room is checked for explosives before it leaves; • 200 metres from the hearing room reporters dismount, pass through metal detectors, and are sniffed by chemical detectors for signs of exposure to explosives; • Only eight reporters are allowed into the hearing room -- the remainder watch over closed circuit TV;

The accused

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Name David Hicks Charges Verdict

Guantanamo military commission
Dates Charged: February 3, 2007[8] Sentenced: March 30, 2007 Arrived in Australia: May 20, 2007 Released: December 29, 2007 Captured: November 24, 2001 Charged: May 10, 2007 Sentenced: August 7, 2008 Charged: February 9, 2008 Captured: December 2001

Providing material support for Found guilty, sentenced to seven terrorism[8] years in prison (only served nine months of penalty, mostly in Australia, under terms of plea agreement)

Salim Hamdan

Conspiracy; providing material Acquitted on conspiracy charge; support for terrorism found guilty for providing material support and sentenced to five and a half years (66 months) in prison (credited for 61 months in detention)

Ali Hamza al-Bahlul Ibrahim al Qosi Omar Khadr Murder in violation of the law of war; attempted murder in violation of the law of war; conspiracy; providing material support for terrorism; spying

Charged: February 2, 2007

Sufyian Barhoumi Ghassan alShirbi Jabran alQahtani Benyam Mohammed Arrested in Parkistan: April 10, 2002

Abdul Zahir Mohamed Jawad Three counts of attempted murder; three counts of committing serious bodily harm Charged: October 11, 2007


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Colonel Brownback (retired) • • • •

Guantanamo military commission

President of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan The only lawyer on the commission. A long time friend of the appointing officer. Brownback was criticized for not being an active member of a state bar.

Christopher Colonel USAF Bogdan R. Thomas Bright

• Member of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan • Only commission member who was not challenged.

Colonel USMC • Member of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan • Challenged because he assembled lists of detainees bound for Guantánamo and executed war plans in Afghanistan.[9] • Remains on the commission. lieutenant col- • Member of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan onel U.S. Army • Admitted referring to the Guantánamo detainees as "terrorists". • Admitted being unfamiliar with the Geneva Conventions. • Removed from the commission. Colonel USMC • Member of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan • Membership was challenged because he lost a subordinate during the attacks of September 11, 2001. • Remains on the commission. lieutenant col- • Member of the Commissions for David Hicks, Salim Hamdan onel USAF • An intelligence officer who was involved in the capture of suspects in Afghanistan. • Removed from the commission. Colonel USMC • President of the Commissions for Binyam Ahmed Muhammad and Ghassan Abdullah Al-Sharbi Commander Legal Advisor to the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants Rear Admiral Director, Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Curt S. Cooper

Jack K. Sparks Jr.

Timothy K. Toomey

Ralph Kohlmann Teresa M. Palmer J.M. McGarrah James R. Crisfield Kyndra Rotunda

Commander Legal Advisor major Legal Advisor

Suspension and possible revival
On January 22, 2009, new US President Barack Obama, who had said during his 2008 campaign that he would reject the Military Commissions Act if elected,[1] issued an executive order instructing the Secretary of Defense to immediately take steps sufficient to ensure that no new charges are sworn, or referred to a military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Rules for Military Commissions, and that all proceedings of such military commissions to which charges have been referred but in

which no judgment has been rendered, and all proceedings pending in the United States Court of Military Commission Review, are halted.[13] On January 29, 2009 the order was overturned. Guantanamo military commission judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, ruled against the order in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is one of three Guantanamo Bay inmates known to have been tortured by water-boarding.[14] In May 2009, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration is considering the tribunals as an alternative to trying detainees in the regular court system.[1]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John D. Altenburg General (retired)

Guantanamo military commission

• Appointing authority • Will attend all the commissions • Has the authority to shut down any commission, immediately, without warning or explanation. • Legal advisor to the Office of Military Commissions • Commission President (see above)

Thomas Brigadier Hemingway General Peter Colonel Brownback (retired) Ralph Kohlmann

Colonel USMC • Commission President (see above) • Chief Prosecutor • Leaked memos surfaced that claimed he had bragged about corrupting the fairness of the proceedings. • Reported to have claimed the Commission officers were chosen because they could be trusted to convict • Reported to have claimed that all the evidence of the suspect’s innocence would be classified top-secret, so the defense never learned of it. • Resigned his commission. • Chief Prosecutor following Fred Borch. • Requested two of the commission officers be removed because they would be biased in favor of conviction.

Fred Borch Colonel

Robert L. Swann Dwight H. Sullivan


Colonel USMC • Appointed to be chief defense counsel Reserve • Called up from civilian life for this service • Worked for the Maryland office of the American Civil Liberties Union in civilian life. civilian • • • • Defending Omar Khadr Professor of law Pro bono service Described great difficulties put in his path by military authorities.[10]

Muneer Ahmad

Robert Chester John Carr

Colonel Captain

• Prosecuting Omar Khadr[11] • Appointed to serve as a Prosecutor • Requested transfer because the proceeding seemed unjust. • Promoted after transfer • Prosecutor for Omar Khadr • Appointed to defend Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul • Bahlul has consistently insisted on his right to defend himself. • Appointed to defend Ghassan Abdullah Al Sharbi • Al Sharbi insisted on his right to defend himself. • Appointed to defend Omar Khadr • Appointed to defend David Matthew Hicks

Morris Davis Thomas Fleener William C. Kuebler John Merriam Michael Mori

Colonel U.S. Air Force major Army Reserve Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy Captain U.S. Army major USMC Reserve


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Preston Robert D. Rachlin Sharon Shaffer Philip Sundel Charles Swift major

Guantanamo military commission

• Appointed to serve as a Prosecutor • Requested transfer because the proceeding seemed unjust. • Promoted after transfer • Volunteered to defend Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi • Appointed to defend Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi • Appointed to defend Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul • Bahlul has consistently insisted on his right to defend himself. • Appointed to serve as Salim Ahmed Hamdan’s defense counsel • Appointed to serve as a Prosecutor • Requested transfer because the proceeding seemed unjust. • Promoted after transfer Court of the United States, October 2005, opinions/05pdf/05-184.pdf, retrieved on 2007-12-17. "FAQs about the Military Commissions Act", The Center for Victims of Torture, TortureisUn-American/ FAQs:MilitaryCommissionsAct, retrieved on 2007-12-17. "Military Commission Instruction No. 10" (PDF), United States Department of Defense, March 24, 2006, Mar2006/d20060327MCI10.pdf, retrieved on 2007-12-16. "Trial Guide for Military Commissions" (PDF), United States Department of Defense, August 17, 2004, Aug2004/d20040820guide.pdf, retrieved on 2007-12-17. Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Myers (March 28, 2002), "Transcript: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, briefed reporters March 28 at the Pentagon.", United States Embassy, Canberra, 2002/0328/epf402.htm, retrieved on 2007-12-17. ^ " releases/2007/joint_ruddock_hicks.html", Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia), 2007-02-03, releases/2007/joint_ruddock_hicks.html, retrieved on 2008-08-11.

civilian — —

Lieutenant Commander

Carrie Wolf Captain USAF

See also
• Administrative Review Board • Boycott of Guantanamo Military Commissions • Combatant Status Review Tribunal • Command responsibility • court martial • Geneva Conventions • Hamdan v. Rumsfeld • Illegal combatant • Jus ad bellum • Jus in bello • Lawfare • Military tribunal • Military law • War on Terror • Military Police: Enemy Prisoners of War, Retained Personnel, Civilian Internees and Other Detainees [4]



[1] ^ "U.S. May Revive Guantánamo Military Courts" (webpage), The New York Times, May 2, 2009, 2009/05/02/us/politics/ 02gitmo.html?_r=1, retrieved on 2009-05-02. [2] "American Bar Association Task Force on Terrorism and the law report and recommendations on Military Commissions" (PDF), American Bar Association, January 4, 2002, military.pdf, retrieved on 2007-12-16. [3] "Syllabus: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense" (PDF), Supreme




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[9] "Three Guantánamo panelists dismissed over bias allegations", USA Today, • October 21, 2004, • 2004-10-21-gitmo-panelists_x.htm, retrieved on 2007-12-17. [10] "At Gitmo, still no day in court: How feds avoid hearings for terror suspects — despite Supreme Court ruling", Newsday, June 15, 2005, • nationworld/world/nywoguan0615,0,2202228,print.story?coll=ny- • world-big-pix, retrieved on 2007-12-17. [11] "U.S. prosecutor in Khadr case blasts • sympathetic views of Canadian teen", CBC, January 10, 2006, • w011074.html, retrieved on 2007-12-16. [12] Michelle Shephard (January 2, 2008), "Guantanamo hearings try patience: • Underwire bra, extra pen among items unpopular with military overseers at terrorist suspects’ trials", Toronto Star, • 290364, retrieved on 2008-01-04. [13] "Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities",, 2009-01-22, • the_press_office/ ClosureOfGuantanamoDetentionFacilities/, retrieved on 2009-01-27. [14] "Judge rejects Obama bid to stall trial", NZ Herald - AP, 2009-01-29, • article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10554318, retrieved on 2009-02-07.

Guantanamo military commission

External links
Official Site "Defense Department Picks Officials for Military Tribunal Posts: Appointing authority, legal advisor, review panel members named", United States Department of Defense, December 30, 2003, 2003/Dec/31-861825.html, retrieved on 2007-10-14. Amnesty International John D. Altenburg, Defense Department Briefing on Military Commission Hearings, Department of Defense, August 17, 2004 Military Tribunals: Historical Patterns and Lessons, CRS Report for Congress July 9, 2004 James Meek, US fires Guantánamo defence team, The Guardian, December 3, 2003 American Bar Association Task Force on Terrorism and the Law Report and Recommendations on Military Commissions: January 4, 2002(PDF) At Gitmo, still no day in court: How feds avoid hearings for terror suspects — despite Supreme Court ruling, Newsday, June 15, 2005 Leaked emails claim Guantánamo trials rigged Australian Broadcasting Corporation August 1, 2005*Leaked emails claim Guantánamo trials rigged Australian Broadcasting Corporation August 1, 2005 UK resident released from Guantanamo, Breaking Legal news, April 1, 2007

Retrieved from "" Categories: Extrajudicial prisoners of the United States, Military law, Guantanamo Bay attorneys, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Anti-terrorism policy of the United States, Guantanamo Bay captives legal and administrative procedures This page was last modified on 15 May 2009, at 15:39 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers


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