Also on Thursday, the Australian Lawyers Alliance [group website] presented a report [materials; ABC Australia report] to Australian Attorney General Phillip Ruddock that characterizes the US military commission plan as "unfair and unreasonable." Specifically, the report states the MMC is unacceptable because:
its jurisdiction is retrospective and wide-ranging;
the hearsay rule is unfair to the accused and dilutes the common law rules of hearsay;
important procedural rules are not predicated on principles of fairness;
any custodial sentence imposed does not take into account time already served by the accused;
involuntary confessions are admissible; and
appeal provisions favour positive outcomes for the prosecution.
New charges against Hicks were proposed [JURIST report] in February; the military was forced to drop the original charges against him after the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the original military commissions system established by President Bush unconstitutional without Congressional authorization [JURIST report]. The new charges were subject to a formal approval process.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.