Senate won't consider Guantanamo tribunal legislation until September: Frist

[JURIST] US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] told reporters Monday that floor action on legislation governing procedures for military commissions [JURIST news archive] at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] is unlikely until after Labor Day. Frist said that Senate Republicans are busy discussing the legislation with Democrats and the White House and that several Senate committees with jurisdiction over the issue are trying to coordinate their work. The Senate adjourns for a recess on Aug. 7 [legislative schedule] and does not reconvene until Sept. 5. In the meantime, two Senate committees have scheduled hearings [JURIST report] on draft legislation - the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and the Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The legislation is necessary because of the US Supreme Court's decision last month in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [text], which held that President Bush's military commissions as constituted lack proper legal authorization [JURIST report]. Bush has 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. AP has more.

Meanwhile White House press secretary Tony Snow said at the regular press briefing [transcript] Monday that the administration has no plans to shift the detainees to the US or try them in the US federal courts:

...we are not going to move them into places on American soil and to the civil justice system. These are people who were picked up off a battlefield. And many of you have been down there. You see the extraordinary measures that are taken not only to deal with their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs. And this is a facility at which there is extreme care taken to try not only to bring them to justice, but also to treat them humanely. So, no, there are no plans at this point to move them into another facility except to the extent to which we are able to repatriate those who might, in fact, be tried and cared for elsewhere.
Reuters has more.

 

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