Monday, February 26, 2018

Prof. Chesney on military commissions

Given the current chaos -- there's no better description -- in the Guantanamo military commissions, Prof. Bobby Chesney of the University of Texas Law School has written a thoughtful post for Lawfare. He observes:
None of this is to say that commissions should be abolished as to all circumstances and for all time. They should not be. Commissions arose originally because there are combat circumstances in which a commission may provide the only realistic prospect for doing justice, and at least to that degree they should remain available. Where there is a perfectly reasonable civilian trial alternative, however, and especially where that alternative indisputably is more likely to resolve a case within a reasonable period of time, the case for sticking with the commissions year-after-year falls apart. 
It’s past time to move these cases to civilian courts, precisely so that justice can be done.
The Editor has long been of the view that any case that can be tried in civilian court should be tried there rather than in a military commission. (And just how military are the military commissions, anyway?) I agree that a place remains for military commissions in theory, but only those commissions that are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 U.S.C. ch. 47), not those governed by the Military Commissions Act (10 U.S.C. ch. 47A). Some offenders have a right to be tried by a military court; others, including those who are subject to the MCA, do not. See you in Foley Square.

1 comment:

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).