Monday, June 04, 2007

Charges Against Hamden Dismissed as Well

If Bush and his legal advisers weren't steaming mad earlier today when the charges against Omar Khadr were dismissed, I imagine their heads exploded shortly thereafter.

Via The Guardian:

The Bush administration's plans to bring detainees at Guantánamo Bay to trial were thrown into chaos yesterday when military judges threw out all charges against a detainee held there since he was 15 and dismissed charges against another detainee who chauffeured Osama bin Laden.

In back-to-back arraignments for the Canadian Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national, the US military's cases against the alleged al-Qaida figures were dismissed because, the judges said, the government had failed to establish jurisdiction.

As The Guardian notes, the Hamdan case was the one that ended up in the Supreme Court which sent the issue back to congress to fix.

Mr Hamdan last year won a US supreme court challenge that led to the scrapping of the first Guantánamo tribunal system.

Yesterday's [Monday's] rulings also suggest that none of the 385 other detainees at Guantánamo, held for more than five years without charge, can be brought to trial before the tribunals because they too have been designated merely as "enemy combatants", lawyers said yesterday.
It exposes the hastiness with which Congress moved in October to bring in legislation authorising the tribunals after the supreme court threw out the earlier version.

Now, once again barely a year later, the tribunals have been thrown into legal limbo at their first outing.

Just how many shots does the Bush administration get at going after these detainees? Until they get it right, apparently.

Ms Huskey said that amid the confusion, one thing appeared clear. The detainees, held without charge since 2002, were likely to face further delays before having their day in court. "What it does mean for Omar and all the detainees is that they are going to have a whole new process so that everyone can be charged," she said.


The wiki version of Hamdan v Rumsfeld
My earlier post about Omar Khadr. (Good discussion and more links in the comments there.)
The New York Times has more about the legal ramifications along with this reaction from the Pentagon:

The White House declined on Monday night to comment on the decisions. Beth G. Kubala, an Army major who is the spokeswoman for the Office of Military Commissions at the Pentagon, said that the day’s ruling demonstrated that the military judges operated independently. But she suggested that the military did not view the double defeat as paralyzing to its prosecutions of war crimes.

“The public should make no assumptions,” Ms. Kubala said, “about the future of military commissions.”

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