Monday, April 28, 2014

Jury composition in Guantanamo military commission

Richard Kammen
An interesting issue has been raised in the military commission case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of helping attack the USS Cole. According to this Lawfare post by Wells Bennett, civilian defense counsel Richard Kammen wishes to probe why the convening authority selected no general officers to serve on the commission panel:
[H]e explains [that] his side still needs to [k]now how un-random the process might be. Kammen notes, for example, that the Convening Authority seemingly has excluded generals from the pool. Why? Kammen also notes that the purposes of courts martial and commissions are different; the relationships between the convening officer and the would-be jurors should reflect that. The military judge observes that the structure here was designed by Congress, and approved by the President. Kammen acknowledges as much, but predicts that a civilian court might find the differences between this selection process, and that of a civilian court in a capital case, to be so great the commissions mechanism “cannot stand.”

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