Obama Administration to Revive Fatally Flawed Military Commissions

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666; media@aclu.org

Obama Administration to Revive Fatally Flawed Military Commissions

Decision Strikes Blow to Due Process and Rule of Law

NEW YORK - In
a striking blow to due process and the rule of law, the Obama
administration has decided to revive the fatally flawed military
commissions system to prosecute certain Guantánamo detainees, according
to news reports.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

"These military commissions are
inherently illegitimate, unconstitutional and incapable of delivering
outcomes we can trust. Tweaking the rules of these failed tribunals so
that they provide ‘more due process' is absurd; there is no such thing
as ‘due process light.' If the administration's proposed rules really
bring these proceedings in line with constitutional requirements, there
is no reason not to use our tried and true justice system. If they
don't, these tribunals have no place in our democracy.

"Despite the administration's
efforts to improve the system, the only explanation for reviving it
would be to accommodate the damage that has already been done by the
Bush administration's policies of torture, illegal detention and denial
of fair trials. As unfortunate as it is to inherit that legacy, to
accommodate those policies is essentially to ratify them.

"In this case, President Obama would
do well to remember his own infamous words during his presidential
campaign: you can't put lipstick on a pig."

The ACLU, through its John Adams
Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has
worked with under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel
for several of the Guantánamo detainees in the military commissions
system. The cases of these detainees would be included in those the
Obama administration plans to prosecute through the revived commissions.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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