[JURIST] Fewer Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prisoners will be charged with war crimes this week than originally expected, chief prosecutor USAF Col. Moe Davis [official profile, PDF] told Reuters Monday. Revised charges were expected to be filed against up to 20 suspected members of al Qaeda and the Taliban by February, but new procedural rules [manual, PDF] implemented earlier this month will delay the trials for at least half of those detainees. Under the new rules, hearings must take place before a tribunal judge within 30 days of the filing of charges; the trial must commence within 120 days of the charging. Davis also pointed to Guantanamo's limited facilities as partially responsible for the delay, as only one courtroom is available.
Davis said that he was very likely to recommend the death penalty for some of the 14 high-value detainees [DNI backgrounder, PDF] moved to the camp [JURIST report] from CIA secret prisons in September. First evidence is expected to be presented by this summer. Davis also said Monday that Australian detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] will likely be among those charged [JURIST report] this week. Reuters has more.
The US Supreme Court effectively dismissed the charges against the original 10 Guantanamo defendants accused of terrorism in June when it rejected [JURIST report] President Bush's initial military commission system, saying it was created without proper authorization from Congress. In response, the Republican-dominated Congress created a new military tribunal system [JURIST report] this past September when it passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [PDF text; JURIST news archive], elaborated in the manual [JURIST report] published January 18.