President Obama Expresses Commitment To Using Federal Courts For Terrorism Prosecutions
ACLU Praises Statement But Says Military Commissions Should Be Completely Abolished
NEW YORK - President
Obama today voiced support for prosecuting terrorism suspects in
federal criminal courts while also calling for military commissions to
be used in some cases. To date, there have been more than 400
terrorism-related convictions since 9/11 in the federal courts, and
exactly four in the Guantánamo military commissions system.
The ACLU praised the president's
support for federal criminal courts and the rule of law, but also urged
the president to resist political pressure to try terrorism suspects in
the broken military commissions. The ACLU rejects the president's
assertion that there are some terrorism suspects against whom "there is
sufficient evidence to bring about a conviction" but who cannot be tried
in federal courts.
The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:
"President Obama's recognition today
that federal courts are capable of prosecuting terrorism suspects is
welcome. Federal criminal courts are not only the right choice, but also
the effective one for successfully trying terrorism suspects. After
months of speculation as to whether the president still supports the use
of federal criminal courts for terrorism suspects, it is gratifying to
hear his renewed commitment.
"However, it is disappointing that
the president still continues to support the use of military commissions
at all. The commissions are riddled with constitutional and procedural
problems and their outcomes will always be subject to question. It is
time to shut down the broken military commission system for good so we
can get on with the business of achieving real and reliable justice."
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.