US military tribunal best venue for terror cases: AG Mukasey

[JURIST] Terror suspects should be tried in military commissions, not federal courts, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey [official profile; JURIST news archive] said in a Wednesday speech to judges at the 2008 DC Circuit Judicial Conference [conference program, PDF]. Mukasey said that sending terror cases to civilian courts could require the release of sensitive national security information, but human rights groups have argued that federal courts are the best venue [JURIST report] because they are versatile enough to address both defendants' rights and national-security issues. Rights groups have also expressed concern that the military tribunals allow some evidence that is barred from federal court, including hearsay or coerced confessions. AP has more.

In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the military commission system as initially constituted violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system. Questions about the system were raised again after the recent dismissal [JURIST report] of the US military judge presiding over the military commission trial of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], but the chief Guantanamo judge has insisted that the military tribunals are capable and independent judicial bodies [JURIST report].

 

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