Saturday, March 3, 2018

"One hell of a February"

The Brookings Institution's Scott R. Anderson has written a detailed and thoughtful appraisal for Lawfare of the state of the Guantanamo military commissions, under the title "Something is Rotten with the State of the Military Commissions." His conclusion:
The military commissions are flawed institutions, crippled by deficiencies in design, uncertainties about their jurisdiction, interagency interference, and their association with a dark history of torture and abuse. If they are to serve a legitimate and effective function, then their use must be marked by visible and principled restraint consistent with other institutions of adjudicatory justice; otherwise, there will be little to distinguish them from the star chambers doling out victor’s justice that critics accuse them of being. We will know the Trump administration’s true agenda for the military commissions in approximately 60 days, when [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis provides his recommendations to the president. That said, its rhetoric thus far shows few signs of embracing this perspective. And to the extent his views have helped to drive recent events, President Trump’s repeated calls for toughening the military commissions may ironically prove to be their death knell.
The essay is particularly useful to those who want to drill down or simply refresh their recollections because of its numerous links to underlying documents and sources.  

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