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Nuremberg trials prosecutor slams Guantanamo military commissions

[JURIST] A US Nuremberg trials [Yale trial information] prosecutor denounced the US military commissions at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives] in an interview with Reuters published Monday. Henry King Jr. [academic profile], now in his 80s but still a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, said the commissions violated the principles of fairness established during the trials of Nazi leaders and were contrary to the spirit of the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], while the Nuremberg trials themselves were notable for giving defendants a presumption of innocence, adequate defence counsel, and the opportunity to see evidence against them. King also told Reuters that his superior at the trials, chief US prosecutor and later Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson [Robert Jackson Center website], would have found allowing hearsay as evidence, allowing some prosecution access to some evidence off limits to the defense, and allowing evidence obtained through coercion to be unjust.

King found fault in the 2006 Military Commissions Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive], saying that instead Guantanamo prisoners should be tried in a system with fair rules that allow the possibility of acquittal. He said that the US, as the initiator of the war crimes tribunals, could do much better by following the trial rules established for Nuremberg. Reuters has more.

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