"Deplorable," "charade," "shambolic" - these are the words used by Mr. Lex Lasry QC to describe the brand of justice served at Guantánamo Bay. Lasry was the Law Council of Australia's observer at the David Hicks proceedings. A summary of Lasry's report is available HERE.
Here is a selection from the conclusion:
The “trial” of David Hicks, which took place in March 2007, was a charade.
A pre-trial agreement had been signed and the balance of the legal proceedings was entirely surplus to requirements, although designed to lay a veneer of due process over a political and pragmatic bargain. The veneer cracked immediately.Ultimately, there has been no benefit from this process; only a corrosion of the rule of law.
No ground can be claimed to have been made in the so-called War on Terror. The Military Commission process at Guantanamo likewise has neither gained from it, nor shown any prospect of improvement. Predictably, there has been no response from the Australian Government to the consistent and widespread criticism of the Military Commissions and Guantanamo Bay generally. Their support for this process has been shameful.
They have never put an argument to the Australian public as to why the Military Commission process is “full and fair”. Now that the Hicks case is over, no doubt the hope is that the issue will disappear – and, regrettably, perhaps it will.
However, Australia’s international standing and moral authority has been diminished by its support of a process so obviously at odds with the rule of law. Those with a concern for the protection of due process should be very concerned about the future of this process, particularly given its jurisdiction to impose death penalties.