Retired Military Leaders Call on Obama Administration to Abandon Military Commissions, Defend the Rule of Law

For Immediate Release

Retired Military Leaders Call on Obama Administration to Abandon Military Commissions, Defend the Rule of Law

WASHINGTON -  Yesterday, three of the nation’s respected retired military leaders
called on President Barack Obama to abandon the use of military
commissions to try those held at Guantanamo Bay.  Vice Admiral Lee F.
Gunn, USN (Ret.), Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.), and
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.) urged the President to
fulfill his campaign promise to use civilian courts or military courts
martial to ensure America can regain the moral high ground in its fight
against terrorism.

“According to the Army’s 2006 Counterinsurgency Manual, we must
demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to upholding the rule of law and
basic principles of human rights,” the military leaders wrote. “We urge
you not to make a costly step in the opposition direction by
reinstating military commissions at Guantanamo or embracing a policy of
prolonged detention without trial.”

The letter also stated that the military commissions system, even
with added procedural safeguards, cannot provide the “swift and sure
justice” that President Obama recognized during his campaign is
essential to “better protect the American people and our values.” Vice
Admiral Gunn, Rear Admiral Hutson, and Brigadier General Cullen warned
that the commissions system lacks domestic and international
credibility and has shown itself to be vulnerable to unlawful command
influence, manipulation and political pressure. “Reinventing
commissions so deeply associated with Guantanamo Bay will merely add to
the erosion of international confidence in American justice, provide
more fodder for America’s enemies, and lead to prolonged challenges and
years of continued litigation,” they stated.

Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to make an announcement regarding the use of military commissions.

Read the letter here.

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Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Gunn served as the Inspector General of the Department
of the Navy from 1997 until retirement in August 2000. Admiral Gunn's
sea duty included: command of the frigate USS Barbey; command of
Destroyer Squadron 31, the Navy's tactical and technical development
anti-submarine warfare squadron; and command of Amphibious Group Three,
supporting the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Southwest Asia and
East Africa. Gunn is from Bakersfield, California and is a graduate of
UCLA, having received his commission from the Naval ROTC program at
UCLA in June 1965.

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson served in the U. S. Navy from 1973 to
2000. He was the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000.
Admiral Hutson now serves as President and Dean of the Franklin Pierce
Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. He also joined Human Rights
First’s Board of Directors in 2005.

Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)

Mr. Cullen is a retired Brigadier General in the United States Army
Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps and last served as the Chief
Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He currently
practices law in New York City.

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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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