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Senate committees set to consider Guantanamo trials legislation

[JURIST] Two committees of the US Senate are set for hearings on draft legislation governing trial procedures for Guantanamo detainees after the US Supreme Court ruled June 29 in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [text] that President Bush's military commissions as currently constituted lack proper legal authorization [JURIST report]. In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, Bush said he would work with Congressional leaders [JURIST report] on legislation that would allow military trials to go forward while addressing the concerns of the court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] is set to hold a hearing [notice] July 11 with witnesses that include senior US Justice Department and Defense Department legal counsel plus the military lawyer for Salim Hamdan, and chairman Senator Arlen Specter has already introduced legislation [draft bill, DOC] that would allow military commissions to work with greater procedural protections and guarantees for defendants. On July 13, the Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] will take up its own bill. Armed Services Committee chairman Senator John Warner, who has previously voiced some concern [JURIST report] about the challenges involved in the drafting process, issued a carefully worded statement [text] Friday saying:

Our committee will proceed with great care and deliberation in deciding the way forward legislatively on detainee trials in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Our goal is to recommend to the Majority and Minority Leaders legislation that would survive future federal court challenges, and, as the Supreme Court has stated, will rely as much as possible on the basic framework of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The whole world is watching how our country handles this issue, and our committee will proceed on any legislation very carefully, in a bipartisan way, to ensure America’s credibility.
AFP has more.

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