A new military commissions judge in the Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri case has dismissed a series of government motions seeking to avoid turning over classified materials to Nashiri's defense team. In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit threw out more than three years of orders issued by the case's former, Col. Vance Spath. The government had requested "reconsideration" of 30 of Spath's now-vacated orders about classified evidence.
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On April 16, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted Guantanamo detainee and alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed al-Nashiri’s petition for a writ of mandamus and vacated all orders issued by former military judge Col. Vance Spath during a 28-month period on account of Spath’s failure to disqualify himself due to an apparent conflict of interest.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday issued its opinion in In Re: Abd al-Rahim Muhammed al-Nashiri. The court held that Col. Vance Spath, the judge in the al-Nashiri case, should have been disqualified from his position while seeking a job as an immigration judge with the U.S. Department of Justice. The court vacated every order Spath has issued since Nov. 2015 as well as related rulings by the Court of Military Commissions Review.
On Friday, the Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) reversed the abatement in United States v. Al-Nashiri, and ordered that proceedings resume.
Updates from the Military Commissions, 11/14-11/16: Wrapping Up the Physical Evidence Witnesses in al-Nashiri
Following the events of Nov. 13 summarized in the last post in this series, the military commission in United States v. al-Nashiri reconvened on Tuesday, Nov.
When last we left Lawfare readers, the prosecution in the United States v. al-Nashiri military commission had begun “preadmission” of evidence despite the ongoing refusal of defense counsel to participate.
Pretrial activities in United States v. al-Nashiri shifted focus Nov. 8 and 10, as the prosecution began presenting witnesses and physical evidence from the USS Cole for preadmission by presiding judge Col. Vance Spath. Judge Advocate General Lt. Alaric Piette represented al-Nashiri in the courtroom and continued to assert that the defense cannot proceed without death penalty counsel.
Military commission proceedings in United States v. al-Nashiri continued Nov. 7 with military judge Col. Vance Spath presiding. Judge Advocate General Lt. Alaric Piette remains the sole counsel for the defense present.
Continuing with pretrial proceedings in United States v. al-Nashiri—which relates to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole—military judge Col. Vance Spath called the commission to order Nov. 3 at 9:00 am. Defendant Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and his military judge advocate general, Navy Lt. Alaric Piette, were present for the defense.
As discussed in the last post in this series, on Wednesday, military judge Col. Vance Spath held Marine Corps Brig. Gen. John Baker, chief defense counsel of the military commissions, in contempt of court. He sentenced Baker to pay a $1000 fine and to be confined to quarters at Guantánamo Bay naval base for 21 days.