Friday, March 16, 2012

From Roger Fitch and our Friends down under at Justinian

The Monte Cristo syndrome

Guantánamo: give evidence against other prisoners and we might let you out, one day ... As long as you're not too angry ... The new prosecution paradigm and the latest stitch-up ... Plus, the legal basis for drone killing of Americans without due process ... Roger Fitch - Our Man in Washington 
"Farcical judicial trials conducted by us will destroy confidence in the judicial process as quickly as those conducted by any other people ... there are certain things you cannot do under the guise of a judicial trial. Courts try cases, but cases also try courts." US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg Tribunal
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"Robert Jackson ... would turn over in his grave if he knew what was going on at Guantánamo." Henry King, Jr., Associate Prosecutor, Nuremberg
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The first new military commission prosecution was recently announced, against the Pakistani Majid Khan. A plea bargain quickly followed. If all goes well, Mr Khan, held without charge since 2003, will be sentenced in 2016. Is that speedy, or what?
The media were mostly cock-a-hoop over the prospect of new "war crime convictions," even though Khan, like the all the other people charged in commissions since George Bush first set them up in November 2001, will not stand convicted of any crime actually applicable to him under the law of war. 
As Melina Milazzo, counsel for the Law and Security Program, noted:  
"The US military commission system, now in its third incarnation, faces lengthy litigation over the legality of trying individuals for offenses that do not actually constitute war crimes, the potential ex post facto problems with prosecuting conduct not considered criminal until the passage of the Military Commission Act, and the scope and meaning of the rule and procedures applicable during trials."