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Khadr military judge bars Hartmann from legal advisor role

[JURIST] The military judge presiding over the military commission [JURIST news archive] trial of Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday barred US Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann [official profile] from acting as a legal advisor to the commission in Khadr's trial. In addition to his position as legal advisor to the Department of Defense authority in charge of the commissions, Hartmann is also the supervisor of the Office of Military Commissions-Prosecution (OMC-P). The ruling [text, PDF] by Colonel Patrick Parrish, the judge in Khadr's commission trial, grants a motion by Khadr's defense lawyers to exclude Hartmann from the commission because his "extremely active approach" to his role as supervisor of the OMC-P "raises an issue about his ability to remain neutral and impartial during his post trial duties" as legal advisor to the Convening Authority. Parrish's ruling also denied a motion brought by Khadr's defense lawyers to dismiss the charges in the case. The Miami Herald has more. The Canadian Press has additional coverage.

Hartmann has previously been accused of bias towards prosecutors. At a Wednesday hearing, US Army Gen. Gregory Zanetti [official profile], deputy commander at Guantanamo Bay, testified [JURIST report] that Hartmann routinely bullied his counterparts and was inappropriately aggressive in seeking indictments against detainees. In May, lawyers for detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] unsuccessfully moved to have charges against their client dropped because of similar allegations [JURIST report] against Hartmann. Earlier that month, Hartman was disqualified [JURIST report] from participating in the military commission trial of detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], but he has refused to resign [JURIST report] from his post.

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