Trials or Travesties?

The Washington Post reports that Trials Set To Begin For Four at Guantanamo. In addition to the many fundamental structural failures (e.g. limited rights of appeal, limited access to counsel and witnesses) which are damaging our national reputation, stay alert for news of little-discussed but critical biases in implementation of the rules.

  • Have the defendants' lawyers had access to sufficient translation resources to meaningfully prepare the defense? [Earlier reports suggested the answer was “not at all”.]
  • Will the court hear arguments that the trials cannot go forward in light of the Supreme Court's decisions earlier this year? [I'd be surprised.]
  • Does a civilian court have jurisdiction to enjoin these trials? [I have no idea, and suspect it's an interesting question.]
  • Are the defense lawyers in a separate chain of command from the prosecution? [This is the norm in military trials — but was not the case in Guantanamo the last I heard, admittedly some months ago. It's a vastly important question, not just because of the potential for subtle pressure on the advocates — at least one of whom has already suffered a career-ending non-promotion, but also because it means there is no higher-up likely to go to bat for needed resources.]
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