November 29, 2009 |
In the uproar caused by Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.'s announcement that the alleged planners of the 9/11 attacks are to be tried in U.S. District Court in New York City, and the suspects in the attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole will go on trial before military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the public discourse has lost sight of the fundamental principles that guide the government when it makes such decisions. Unfortunately, the government has lost sight of the principles as well.
May 18, 2009
The Obama administration says it is committed to protecting human rights and supporting multilateral institutions, and the decision to seek a place on the United Nations Human Rights Council was a step in that direction. We are pleased that the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to seat the United States on the council for the first time since its creation in 2006. The council was set up to replace the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which was ineffective.
May 16, 2009 |
President Obama's decision Friday to revive military tribunals to try suspected terrorists will likely fail to erase the taint of illegitimacy over the courts despite efforts at reform, civilian and military legal experts said. Obama outlined five rule changes aimed at bolstering defendants' rights, including strict limits on the use of coerced evidence, tougher restrictions on the use of hearsay evidence and more latitude for defendants to choose their own lawyers.
May 15, 2009 |
The Obama administration will announce plans today to revive the Bush-era military commission system for prosecuting terrorism suspects, current and former officials said, reversing a campaign pledge to rely instead on federal courts and the traditional military justice system. Word of the decision infuriated human rights groups, which argued that any trials under the system created by President George W. Bush would be widely viewed as tainted.
January 30, 2009 |
The chief judge at the Guantanamo Bay war crimes court Thursday rejected President Obama's call to halt the prosecution of terrorism suspects, ruling that a delay in the case of a Saudi accused in the Cole attack would "not serve the interests of justice." Army Col. James L. Pohl said the government's request to postpone until May the Feb. 9 arraignment of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was "not reasonable."
January 11, 2009 |
Osama bin Laden's former driver has been released from a Yemeni prison after serving a sentence for aiding Al Qaeda, his lawyer and a Yemeni Interior Ministry official said. A U.S. military tribunal convicted Salim Hamdan in August of aiding Al Qaeda and sentenced him to 5 1/2 years in prison. He had already been held for five years and a month at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Hamdan was sent to his native Yemen to serve the rest of his sentence.
April 10, 2008 |
A Saudi prisoner Wednesday denounced the war crimes case against him as a politically motivated "sham" and had himself removed from the courtroom in symbolic protest. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza Al-Darbi, whose brother-in-law was among the Sept. 11 hijackers, informed the military judge hearing his terrorism conspiracy case that he wanted neither legal representation nor to be present at his trial.
February 12, 2008 |
The Defense Department had an eye on history Monday when it announced capital murder and war crimes charges against six detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the alleged Sept. 11 plotters would be given an "extraordinary set of rights" when they go on trial. They will receive more rights than the top Nazis tried at Nuremberg, military officials pointed out, and far more than the plotters in the assassination of President Lincoln, who were hanged within three months.
June 7, 2007 |
Despite new legal setbacks, the Pentagon is likely to press ahead with plans for military war-crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because they offer the only way to prosecute the terrorists who planned the Sept. 11 attacks, say military lawyers and legal analysts who support the Bush administration's efforts.
March 20, 2007 |
A veteran Al Qaeda operative has confessed to being the mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole, as well as a key conduit between Osama bin Laden and a terrorist cell in East Africa, according to a transcript of a military tribunal hearing released Monday by the Pentagon. Walid bin Attash has long been suspected of playing a key role in the bombing of the Cole as it refueled in Yemen. The attack killed 17 U.S. sailors and nearly sank the $1-billion guided-missile destroyer.