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BREAKING NEWS ~ Supreme Court to hear challenge to Gitmo tribunals

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to the Bush administration's use of military tribunals [JURIST news archive] for foreign terror suspects. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [PDF certiorari petition] comes on appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which held [PDF opinion] in July that Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees may be tried by military commissions [JURIST report], overturning a lower court decision [JURIST report] that military commissions were not competent to determine whether the detainee was a prisoner of war. The case involves Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who allegedly served as a driver for Osama bin Laden, and the lower court ruled that Hamdan had not been found by a competent tribunal to be or not to be a prisoner of war and that he was due the full protections of a prisoner of war under the Third Geneva Convention [text]. The district court further held that the military commission rules were not in keeping with those for a court-martial due a POW. The appeals court ruled that because Hamdan was a member of al Qaeda, the Geneva Conventions did not apply to him and he could not assert the unlawfulness of the military commissions on that basis. Late last month, a group of 450 law professors circulated a statement [PDF text] urging the Court to grant certiorari in the case, saying the Court must "the relationship between the President's constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief and the existing constitutional, statutory, and international rules and tribunals that govern the conduct of war." Additional case documents are available from the lead counsel for Hamdan, including the government brief opposing certiorari [PDF], and several amicus briefs. The Hamdan case was the focus of a recent online symposium in the New York University Journal of Law and Liberty. AP has more.

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