Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Military Commissions for Terrorists

Bush asks for war crimes legislation
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush Wednesday asked Congress to pass legislation to help prosecute terrorists accused of war crimes. In a speech delivered in the East Room of the White House, Bush said he sent Congress a request "to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions."

Up til now the Bush administration has long maintained that no law is needed to establish a system of military commissions (tribunals), as they are known, for trials of terrorism suspects, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise last June. The administration still contends that military prosecutors should be able to present sensitive evidence to military judges but withhold it from defendants.

But now, "key Republican senators have drafted a legislative plan for special military trials of suspected terrorists that diverges from a recent Bush administration plan by granting defendants rights that the White House has sought to proscribe, government officials said yesterday.

Under the lawmakers' plan, any future military trials of the nearly 200 eligible U.S. detainees held in military prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other locations around the world would be governed by a law that explicitly ensures that defendants have the right to know the evidence against them." (bolding, mine) (

See the whole article.

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