WASHINGTON - June 29 - Amnesty International USA’s Advocacy Director for International Justice and Domestic Human Rights Jumana Musa released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision today in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case. Ms. Musa, an international law attorney, has been Amnesty International’s legal observer at the military commission hearings in Guantanamo Bay for the last two years and has monitored the proceedings in person on five occasions. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Bush did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the "military commissions" illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva conventions:
“Today's ruling is a triumph for the rule of law and sends a clear message to President Bush that he cannot act unilaterally to create a system of law from thin air. This decision should be a crucial step in returning the United States to principles of due process and fundamental rights.
The Court's decision reflects many of the criticisms that Amnesty International, based on firsthand observations, has made of the commissions. A return to due process and fair trials standards is not just a victory for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, but a victory for justice and human rights. The Court has clearly stated that the president cannot invoke wartime powers to circumvent U.S. laws and international treaties that the United States has ratified.”