Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guantánamo 9/11 cases on hold

In a startling ruling, Military Judge James L. Pohl ordered the abatement of the 9/11 military commission proceedings until proper authority rescinds a rule change requiring judges to remain at Guantánamo until trials are complete. "If such rescission is not done in a timely manner, the Commission will consider other remedies." The basis for the abatement order is Judge Pohl's determination that the actions of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, "on the recommendations of the Convening Authority, constitute, at least the appearance of, an unlawful attempt to pressure the Military Judge to accelerate the pace of litigation and an improper attempt to usurp judicial discretion; thereby, compromising the independence of the Military Judge."

Another military judge, presiding over the al-Nashiri case, has indicated that he is not bound by the abatement order and will continue the proceedings before him. He reportedly will also be looking into the UCI issue that troubled Judge Pohl.

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