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Appeals court lets government file more arguments in Guantanamo cases

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeal for the DC Circuit [official website] will allow the Bush administration to file briefs in yet another round of legal arguments challenging hundreds of lawsuits filed by detainees held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. A court panel has outlined a schedule for US government lawyers and counsel for the prisoners to voice their opinions about the impact of the US Supreme Court [official website] ruling last month that found the Guantanamo military commissions [DOD materials] as initially constituted by the President lacked proper legal authorization [JURIST report]. The court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] found that President Bush did not have authority to establish the commissions and that both military law and the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] barred the military commissions in their current form.

The DC Circuit has already heard arguments in the detainees' case twice, in March and last September [JURIST reports]. Lawyers for the detainees had opposed the government's request [JURIST report] for another round of briefs. The outcome of the case will determine the constitutional scope of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) [text] as it applies to the] detainees who have sought habeas corpus review to challenge their detentions. The DTA bars detainees from filing habeas petitions to challenge the legality of their detention but does allow them to appeal the rulings of military tribunals. AP has more.

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