Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pakistani parliament amends constitution to expand jurisdiction of military courts

The Pakistani government obtained the necessary two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and Senate on Tuesday to pass a constitutional amendment expanding military court jurisdiction over civilians. Here are the details. Watch for litigation contesting the action.

Of interest, the Interior Minister argued, in support of the measure, that the United States created military commissions after 9/11. He neglected to mention that those commissions' jurisdiction excludes citizens and is confined to war crimes. What qualifies as a war crime remains in dispute in the (civilian) federal courts. Military commission cases are subject to appellate review by the civilian U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the first round of military commissions in 2006.

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