Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins last night released a statement regarding this week’s hearing in United States v. Al-Nashiri. It begins as follows:
Tomorrow, the military commission convened to try the charges against Abd Al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al Nashiri will hold another in a series of sessions without jury members. As I have explained before, these sessions enable the Judge to decide legal matters in an orderly way before trial.
We acknowledge the desire for justice under the rule of law felt by so many who are observing these proceedings. Among those who feel this desire most acutely are surely the survivors and family members of those killed or injured in the attacks more than a decade ago that are the subject of the charges in this case. For these survivors and families, open and accountable trials are unquestionably worth the effort, however long they may take. Our hearts go out to them. I emphasize that charges against the accused are only allegations, and that the accused is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
We also welcome those in the media and non-governmental organizations who traveled here to attend the sessions or who are attending via closed circuit video transmission to the extension of the courtroom at Fort Meade in the Washington, D.C. area. Through you and through closed-circuit transmission—as well as through the same-day transcription of the proceedings available free of charge at www.mc.mil—the public will observe and better understand the legal issues in dispute.
The Judge’s docketing order (Appellate Exhibit 129), which lists the sequence for arguing motions this week, is also available on the military-commissions website, as are the parties’ pleadings (consisting of the motions, briefs, and response briefs). I want to recognize the many governmental officials whose hard work makes the prompt posting of these materials possible. We have provided binders with hard copies of these many briefs both here at Guantanamo and in Fort Meade. Review of the briefs and attendance at oral arguments in the coming week enable all who are receptive to reason to consider all sides of these motions and avoid reporting or adopting only one perspective on a contested issue.
The Judge will hear argument on twenty-one (21) motions raised by the defense and the prosecution. These motions address important issues involving the presence of the accused, the production and protection of discovery, the process for compelling witnesses and granting expert consultants, the role and powers of the Convening Authority, and the extent to which judicial notice is a means to answer questions of constitutional law. I will not comment on the specifics of this case, but I would like to comment briefly on two broader issues regarding reformed military commissions.