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Thursday, June 29, 2006

The law is the law 

Swish! Nothing but net! Slam dunk.
Finally, the US Supreme Court has said the law is the law. An expensive decision - the Guantanamo inmates have paid for this decision with four years of their lives:
. . . a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article 3 applies to the Guantánamo detainees and is enforceable in federal court for their protection. The provision requires humane treatment of captured combatants and prohibits trials except by "a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people." The opinion made it clear that while this provision does not necessarily require the full range of protections of a civilian court or a military court-martial, it does require observance of protections for defendants that are missing from the rules the administration has issued for military commissions. The flaws the court cited were the failure to guarantee the defendant the right to attend the trial and the prosecution's ability under the rules to introduce hearsay evidence, unsworn testimony, and evidence obtained through coercion . . .
in finding that the federal courts still have jurisdiction to hear cases filed before this year by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, the justices put back on track for decision a dozen cases in the lower courts here that challenge basic rules and procedures governing life for the hundreds of people confined at the United States naval base there . . .
In ruling that the Congressional "authorization for the use of military force," passed in the days immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, cannot be interpreted to legitimize the military commissions, the ruling poses a direct challenge to the administration's legal justification for its secret wiretapping program . . .
in ruling that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to the Guantánamo detainees, the court rejected the administration's view that the article does not cover followers of Al Qaeda. The decision potentially opened the door to challenges, by those held by the United States anywhere in the world, to treatment that could be regarded under the provision as inhumane.
Justice Stevens said that because the charge against Mr. Hamdan, conspiracy, was not a violation of the law of war, it could not be the basis for a trial before a military panel.
Yes, I should think that charging someone in a military court with an offense that is not a military crime should be thrown out.

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