Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama Orders Prosecutors to Request Continuance in Gitmo Trials

According to multiple wire service reports, the President, through SecDef Robert Gates, has ordered the prosecutors in two military commission cases underway at Guantanamo to request 120-day continuances so that the new administration can "review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically."

It is not known whether the defendants will agree to such requests, and the military judges may decline to grant them.

UPDATE: Per NPR, the prosecution motion has been granted, apparently as to the trials underway and all pending trials.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would certainly make for some high drama if the judges refused to grant the requested continuances. I wonder if the president's transition team has a backup plan.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this whole freakshow is finally coming to an end thanks to Obama.

Anonymous said...

There should not have been some quasi paralell legal system established in the first place, it was a disgrace our government holding people indefinitely without a hearing, what short sightedness. Its funny how intelligent people could run muck when theuir ideology takes over. Terrorism has succeeded when we are willing to sacrifice our ideals out of fear and called security this concept is wholly un american and frankly not what the founding fathers envisioned an America living in fear of perpetual cowards

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last two comments. Whenever an illegal combatant is captured in the field opposing our troops they deserve a full criminal trial before Clinton and Carter appointed federal judges.
After their case is dismissed with prejudice due to the US Military not having probable cause to look in their direction in the field, they then should be released in the United States. Hopefully they will also be given government welfare support and an educational grant good for training at a flying school.

Anonymous said...

Anon 0853, do me a favor, define"illegal combatant"? this is exactly the kind oxymoronism that got us in this situation in the first place. If we have evidence somone's comitted a crime then put them on trial period not lock them up in some Gulag and called it security please!!!

John O'Connor said...

The comments in this thread are why this blog is well served by not wading into the military commissions issue. Keep your eye on the ball, CAAFlog.

Christopher Mathews said...

So long as the military commissions rely on military justice personnel for their core functions, they remain, for better or for worse, a part of the life of judge advocates and possibly the most visible activity in which they engage.

I will agree with John O'Connor that sometimes comments here, particularly on matters identified with one political "side" or the other, tend to prove the ancient computer science algorithm that keyboard + anonymity = obnoxious twit.

Anonymous said...

Soooo.....are all those comission counsel ready to PCS?

Jason said...

Here is a link to a discussion about possible Double Jeopardy considerations:
http://www.pebforum.com/social-off-topic/9981-gitmo-trials-suspended.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0109/iglesias_for_gitmo_proscecutor_bb1a49f6-d8c0-4681-93a7-2dd7b89c67f4.html

Bridget Wilson said...

Sez Prof. Winthrop: " The commission is simply an instrumentality for the more efficient execution of the war powers vested in Congress and the power vested in the President as Commander-in-chief in war." I am not certain that commissions are per se unlawful. The real issue is how they have been carried out.

IMHO, the Commissions are very much a part of military justice, and a proper topic of discussion, but perhaps needing a separate forum to avoid having the discussion dominate the board. The MC Manual is an interesting modification of the MCM. Some of the fine practitioners on this blog have been a part of the commissions.

The drama recently got more interesting with the pronouncements of former CAAF Judge Crawford. It should be interesting.

Dew_Process said...

Of note - in the GTMO sessions held last Monday, both Sides moved for a "reasonable adjournment" to obtain guidance from the new Administration. Judge Henley denied that joint request, as well as separate Defense requests.

Military Commissions are and since the Mexican-American War in the 1840's, an authorized "part" of military justice. However, with the advent of what's now, Articles 18 and 21, UCMJ, GCM's also have concurrent jurisdiction, and the Geneva Conventions would appear to limit our use of Military Commissions to those that "mirror" GCMs.

An "illegal combatant" is a bona fide term, meaning a combatant who does not enjoy to privileges and protections of the laws of war, e.g., the German Saboteurs, etc.

The term "enemy combatant" was the phrase invented, which had zero meaning under LOAC and was never even in the official DoD dictionary until after we pointed that out in the Padilla litigation.

The Executive Orders do not "free" the GTMO 300 - those that were bone fide captured on the battlefield, who are not suspect of or charged with war crimes, will most likely be continued to be held, unless "paroled" under LOAC. They just aren't going to be held incommunicado at GTMO.

As far as double jeopardy, jeopardy hasn't attached to any of the pending cases, period.

Finally, regarding ex-judge Crawford, I suspect that she's updating her resume.....