Military Commissions

October 19 Commission Session #7: Confidential Experts

By Wells Bennett
Friday, October 19, 2012, 4:42 PM

The court returns, apparently having familiarized itself with the motion to which Ruiz had referred earlier—AE64.

(In the meantime, James Connell III, Learned Counsel for Ammar al-Baluchi, has left the courtroom.  His absence draws an objection from the government, but Judge Pohl overrules: the pending motion doesn’t concern Connell’s client---who happens also to be absent, along with the other four accused.  Soon Connell returns.)

Ruiz starts in on AE64, which calls for the appointment of a linguistics expert.  That person would assess, on a confidential basis, Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s English language ability.  The defense, Ruiz recounts, made an ex parte request to the Convening Authority for the expert’s appointment, which was denied.  Instead of the linguist, the Convening Authority recommended that the defense opt for a substitute, whose help would not be furnished confidentially.  The court asks: in principle, could Ruiz accept an alternate linguist?  Sure, answers the lawyer, provided his or her services were kept secret from the prosecution, and those services were adequate.

Prosecutor Edward Ryan stands and says he can stipulate to an expert's assignment---as among the parties, anyway. (He's not too keen to speak for the Convening Authority.)   Judge Pohl pursues this.  He asks: if I order the appointment of a confidential consultant to the defense team---an adequate one---would that be acceptable to all?  Ryan believes so.  That’s okay by Ruiz, too.  The court thus resolves AE64, by ordering the appointment of a confidential language assessment professional for Mr. al-Hawsawi.

We close out the week with scheduling.  The court notes two upcoming and week-long hearings, one beginning on December 3, and another beginning on January 28.

The gavel bangs---hearing adjourned.