Michel Paradis

Michel Paradis is a senior attorney in the U.S. Dept. of Defense, Military Commissions Defense Organization. He is also a lecturer at Columbia Law School and a fellow at the Center on National Security. The views expressed are his own and do not reflect the position of the U.S. government or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

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Impeachment

Three Lessons From the First Time a Head of State Was Impeached

When the Framers wrote impeachment into the Constitution, they were drawing on a long history of English common law. But situated within that history, the first impeachment of a head of state had taken place relatively recently—less than 150 years before the drafting of the Constitution. On January 1, 1649, the House of Commons impeached Charles Stuart, then King Charles I of England, for attempting “to subvert the fundamental Laws and Liberties of this Nation.”

International Criminal Court (ICC)

The U.K.’s Opportunity to Use Lawfare in Response to the Salisbury Attack

The United Kingdom has already outlined economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia in response to the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury, England. Prime Minister Theresa May suggested that covert action was also under consideration. And through its rhetoric, the U.K. government has even suggested that more overt uses of force may be an option. But what if the U.K. also looked to the institutions of legal accountability, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court? While admittedly imperfect institutions, the ICJ or the ICC could afford the U.K.

Military Commissions

Why the Collapse of Al-Nashiri’s Defense Team Matters

Last week, the chief defense counsel for the Military Commission Defense Organization, Brig. Gen. John Baker, excused the civilian members of the trial defense team in the military commission of United States v. Al-Nashiri. This specific Guantanamo case relates to the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Among the attorneys who were excused was Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s capital learned-counsel, Richard Kammen.

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Why Transgender Service Members Will Win in Court

In a three-tweet policy announcement Wednesday morning, President Trump promised to institute a ban on transgender service-members. The president claimed that the reason for this change was the need to “focus on decisive and overwhelming victory,” which was apparently made impossible by the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

What’s Driving the Passion Behind JASTA?

In all the debate over the Justice Against Sponsored Terrorism Act (JASTA), the hardest argument to ignore has been from the victims of the September 11th attack. The moral and political clout of this group is unquestionably why a Congress that cannot pass a routine budget was able to overwhelmingly override a presidential veto to ensure that JASTA became law. On its face, the legislation was held up as the only means of providing victims of the September 11th attack the ability to hale foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia, into court for their purported complicity.