Military lawyers urge senators to support more trial protections for detainees

[JURIST] The highest-ranking lawyers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines weighed in on how terror detainees should be judged during a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing [witness list] on the impact of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [text]. The military lawyers pressed for an approach informed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice [text], which provides greater legal protections to court-martial defendants than the system of military commissions established by the Bush administration to try detainees held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The US Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan in June that the military commissions as initially constituted lacked proper legal authorization [JURIST report]. Navy Judge Advocate General Rear Adm. James McPherson recommended that any new framework be fair to the accused, so that if other countries mimic or otherwise take account of the US trial system, US soldiers involved in a future conflict will themselves be treated fairly.

The military lawyers also recommended flexible evidentiary and procedural rules to avoid burdening troops in combat as well as intelligence-gathering. UPI has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

 

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