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Bush issues executive order establishing new military commissions under MCA

[JURIST] President Bush on Wednesday issued an executive order [text] establishing military commissions [JURIST news archive] for enemy combatants held by the US. According to White House officials, the order is required under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) [JURIST news archive] to proceed with trials for terror suspects detained at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. It will facilitate formal review of the charges against three re-charged Guantanamo detainees [JURIST report], although no trial dates have been set. The original charges against the three were dropped after the US Supreme Court last June ruled the original military commissions system established by Bush unconstitutional without Congressional authorization [JURIST report].

Lawyers for the three charged detainees last week renewed their condemnation [JURIST report] of new rules [manual, PDF] that have been laid down for the new commissions, saying the deadlines imposed by them will prevent extended investigation into the reliability of evidence brought against the detainees. The manual, which allows terror detainees to be convicted solely on hearsay or coerced evidence and prevents defendants from using classified evidence without government approval, was released [JURIST report] by the US Defense Department [official website] in January. AFP has more.

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