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Constitution Project Joins Statement Calling for Transparency in Creation of Military Commissions Manual
Public review and comment period are necessary to avoid mistakes of past versions of military commissions
WASHINGTON - April 6 - Yesterday, the Constitution Project joined with eight
other organizations and prominent scholars in releasing a statement
calling for transparency and a public comment period as the Department
of Defense develops its Manual for Military Commissions. The Manual,
once approved by Congress, will spell out the rules governing the
proceedings of the most recent version of military commissions, which
were revised under the Military Commissions Act of 2009.
"As a new round of military commission trials takes shape at Guantanamo Bay, an important piece of unfinished business is revision of the Manual for Military Commissions....The Department of Defense has been working on this revision for some time but has not made a draft available for public comment, even though doing so is the norm for both federal court and court-martial rule making. An opportunity for public comment may produce improvements in the final text. But even if it generates no changes, it will foster improved public confidence in the rules ultimately issued and in the administration of justice by military commissions."There is no reason to conduct this critical process in secret, especially given the Administration's stated commitment to transparency. Failing to involve the public in the ways suggested here will only fuel existing concerns about the commissions."
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Watch
Peter Raven-Hansen, Glen Earl Weston Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
The Constitution Project
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Human Right First
Steven I. Vladeck, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law
Open Society Institute