The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday, denied certiorari [orders, PDF] to consider the last remaining conviction of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, a Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee and former personal assistant to Osama bin Laden, who was tried and convicted by a military commission created after September 11, 2001.
Al Bahlul is reported to have taped recruitment videos and the wills [Reuters report] of some of the hijackers who were responsible for the September 11 attacks. Al Bahlul was convicted in 2007 of providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and solicitation of others to commit war crimes. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] overturned [JURIST report] all but the conspiracy convictions in July 2014. The court remanded the conspiracy charge back to the Court of Military Commission Review.
Upon appeal, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit initially struck down [opinion, PDF] the conspiracy conviction in a 2-1 decision in June 2015 stating that Congress does not possess the constitutional authority to add conspiracy to the internationally recognized war crimes list that may be tried by military commission. However, upon request for reconsideration by the Obama administration to the full appeals court, the full bench of the DC Circuit changed track and ruled 6-3 [JURIST report] that foreign nations do not have “a de facto veto power” over Congressional determination of which war crimes may be considered by a military tribunal.
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