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Obama Administration To Revive Fatally Flawed Military Commissions


Decision Strikes Blow To Due Process And Rule Of Law.

NEW YORK – In a striking blow to due process and the rule of law, the Obama administration has decided to revive the fatally flawed military commissions system to prosecute certain Guantánamo detainees, according to news reports.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

"These military commissions are inherently illegitimate, unconstitutional and incapable of delivering outcomes we can trust. Tweaking the rules of these failed tribunals so that they provide ’more due process’ is absurd; there is no such thing as ’due process light.’ If the administration’s proposed rules really bring these proceedings in line with constitutional requirements, there is no reason not to use our tried and true justice system. If they don’t, these tribunals have no place in our democracy.

"Despite the administration’s efforts to improve the system, the only explanation for reviving it would be to accommodate the damage that has already been done by the Bush administration’s policies of torture, illegal detention and denial of fair trials. As unfortunate as it is to inherit that legacy, to accommodate those policies is essentially to ratify them.

“In this case, President Obama would do well to remember his own infamous words during his presidential campaign: you can’t put lipstick on a pig.”

The ACLU, through its John Adams Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has worked with under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel for several of the Guantánamo detainees in the military commissions system. The cases of these detainees would be included in those the Obama administration plans to prosecute through the revived commissions.


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