Obama Keeps Military Commission Trials
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)into law today. While it contains improvements to trial by military commission, the procedures are still flawed and should have been scrapped in favor of federal criminal trials. From the ACLU:
The NDAA makes improvements to the military commissions but fails to bring those tribunals in line with the U.S. Constitution and international law under the Geneva Conventions. It continues to apply the military commissions to a much broader group of individuals than should be tried before them under the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions and does not prohibit military commission trials of children. The new law does, however, for the first time require experienced capital defense attorneys in death penalty cases, authorize more resources for defense counsel, impose new limitations on the use of hearsay and coerced testimony and afford greater access to witnesses and evidence for defendants.
The ACLU firmly believes that the military commissions should be shut down for good as they remain a second class system of justice that cannot shed the shameful legacy of Guantánamo and all it stands for, rendering their results open to question.
The Center for Constitutional Rights issued an even stronger critique: [More...]
“These are now President Obama's military commissions: he owns them and all of the problems that come with them, and their inevitable failure will scar his legacy and embolden our critics in the world. Military commissions are an unnecessary, jury-rigged creation, second-rate in comparison to our legal system. Obama is tinkering with the Constitution for no good reason.”
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