Terrorism Trials: Military Commissions

Chief Prosecutor's Statement on August 19-23 Hearings in United States v. Mohammed et al.

By Raffaela Wakeman
Monday, August 19, 2013, 9:50 AM

Brigadier General Mark Martins's statement regarding this week's hearings in United States v. Mohammed et al. is available here. It opens:

Good afternoon. Welcome to what has now officially been measured as the hottest month of the year in Guantanamo. Please don’t forget to do what our service members in hot climates across the globe right now are reminding each other to do, namely “hydrate,” which in this context means not “water whatever plants you may be tending,” but rather, “drink plenty of water yourself.” And a belated Eid Mubarak, as Muslims in the United States and around the world recently completed the holy month of Ramadan and celebrated Eid al-Fitr.

We are here for a week of pre-trial sessions in the case of Khalid Shaik Mohammad, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi. Each Accused stands charged with plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 persons and spurred both the largest counterterrorism effort and the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history. The charges are only allegations; the Accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, one of the fundamental procedural safeguards in the Military Commissions Act.

The Judge’s order providing the sequence of motions he intends to consider this week, time permitting, is available on the military commissions’ website. It is at Appellate Exhibit 187. All of the parties’ filings for these motions are also available there, as are the transcripts from prior proceedings. In the past, we have made hard copies of the filings available to members of the media and non-governmental organizations who joined us either in Guantanamo Bay or via closed-circuit television in Maryland. Beginning today, we are making the filings available electronically, in a searchable format. We have also set up a one-stop-shop kiosk here in Guantanamo Bay. We believe these resources will make accessing and using the filings more convenient than ever. When I conclude my comments and finish answering questions, we’d like to demonstrate briefly how to navigate the DVDs we’ll be distributing. For those whose laptops lack an internal DVD drive, we’ve also got available for loan several USB-powered external DVD readers.

Pre-trial sessions are indispensable to the administration of justice. Through them, the judge resolves legal and evidentiary issues in an orderly and methodical way so that we may reduce interruptions and delays at trial, after the jury of officers has been seated and then examined and challenged by the parties to ensure impartiality.