9/11 suspects unlikely to go to trial before end of Bush presidency: officials

[JURIST] Six Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees charged [JURIST report] in connection with the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive] will probably not be put on trial by the US military before the end of the Bush administration in January 2009, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. Officials and watchdog groups cited by the Post noted that the current military tribunal system under which the detainees are to be tried, established by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text], is essentially untested and many questions remain regarding the discovery process, defendants' access to classified evidence, and other issues. The commissions process itself has also been delayed by legal challenges, including Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [PDF text] in which the US Supreme Court ruled in June 2006 that the military commissions as then constituted under executive order were illegal under military law and the Geneva Conventions.

So far, the only US military commission to have reached a verdict is that established for Australian David Hicks [JURIST news archive], who pleaded guilty to a charge of supporting terrorism [JURIST reports] in March 2007. Fourteen other Guantanamo detainees have been charged with crimes, but none of their cases has yet gone to full trial, although preliminary proceedings are underway in several matters.



 

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