Tuesday 16 October 2012

Military Commissions not about justice

Lawyers for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), widely believed to have been the mastermind of the 9/11 bombings and now on trial at Guantanamo, have submitted a statement to the Military Commission now hearing pre-trial motions.
Just so we can all be absolutely clear that this military court is not about justice, this is what it states:
.       There is no statutory right to a speedy trial. 10 U.S.C. § 948b(c).
.       There is no right to remain silent and coerced confessions may be admitted. 10 U.S.C. § 948b(c).
.       There is no grand jury requirement or equivalent process (called an Article 32 hearing for courts-martial) for securing the right to indictment and presentment. 10 U.S.C. § 948b(c).
.       The freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is limited as evidence obtained without a search warrant or other lawful authorization may be admitted. 10 U.S.C. § 949a.
.       The prohibition against ex post facto laws (i.e. the principle of illegality) does not apply. 10 U.S.C. § 950p.
.       Hearsay evidence is admissible.  10 U.S.C. § 949a(b)(3)(D).
.       The defense is not entitled to “equal” access to witnesses and evidence as per court-martial practice, but “reasonable” access. 10 U.S.C. § 949j.
.       The courts-martial pre-trial practice that allows for the dismissal of charges or other sentencing relief for unlawful pre-trial punishment is not included in the Military Commissions Act.
.       The trial judiciary is a component of the Executive Branch, and as such, does not function independently consistent with the requirements for federal trials under Article III of the Constitution.
David Nevin, defense counsel for KSM, added: “The Military Commissions are so far outside our established notions of justice and due process, the extraterritorial application of the individual liberties contained in the U.S. Constitution (such as the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments) remains an open question. We have to spend our time arguing with the government this week as to whether or not the Constitution even applies at all.”

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