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DOD announces changes to military commission procedures

[JURIST] US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday approved changes to procedures for military commissions [DOD materials] used for trying certain detainees held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The changes to Military Commission Order No. 1 [PDF text] primarily increase the role played by the presiding officer, while reducing that of other panel members on the commissions. Presiding officers on commissions are now responsible for deciding issues of law in proceedings, while panel members make determinations on factual issues and sentencing. The reforms also clarify procedures on the presence of those being tried at proceedings and access of the accused to classified information used by prosecutors. The Defense Department has a complete list of changes [PDF text] approved by Rumsfeld. The Defense Department has more [DOD news release].

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