DC Circuit Court Upholds Military Tribunals

From SCOTUSBlog:

In a major ruling that ultimately may be tested in the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld the military tribunals set up by the Bush Administration to try terrorism suspects for war crimes. It decided that Congress’ post-Sept. 11 terrorism resolution and two federal laws "authorized the military commission that will try {Salim Ahmed] Hamdan." It also ruled that the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war gave Hamdan no right to enforce that treaty’s provisions in court. 

Caveat and clarification from MeFi:

  • Separate tribunal must determine if Geneva Conventions apply to this prisoner
  • Geneva did not apply and thus no independent tribunal
  • Even if Geneva did apply, the DoD tribunal would have been sufficient – the prisoner cannot sue in federal court because no one can bring suit within the US for Geneva violation
  • Tribunals need not apply to the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  • They’re not considered soldiers since they were not in a recognizable military uniform
  • Not US citizens, not caught on US soil

Call me a pinko commie, but I think indefinite detentions are an incredibly terrible idea – no matter if you are a soldier, a detainee, a prisoner, a combatant or any other nebulous concept of ‘we got choo!’ we can come up with. Geneva is supposed to apply in times of war – but when the war is The War on Terror – a war on a concept – not a sovereign state – then what do we do? If we invade a country and they try to defend themselves are we simply allowed to do whatever we want?

The prisoner’s attorneys: (emphasis mine)

[T]oday’s ruling places absolute trust in the President, unchecked by the Constitution, statutes of Congress, and longstanding treaties ratified by the Senate of the United States. It gives the President the raw authority to expand military tribunals without limit, threatening the system of international law and armed conflict worldwide.

Culture of life.




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