It’s hard to keep up with the numerous difficulties that the U.S. government has encountered in its effort to prosecute Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—alleged, among other things, to be responsible for the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole—in a Guantanamo military commission. But the latest dispute in the case—over whether two of al-Nashiri’s (former) civilian lawyers should be allowed to intervene in an interlocutory government appeal to the Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR)—is a perfect microcosm for everything that is wrong with the commissions.
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The military commission in United States v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. (the “9/11 case”) reconvened for pretrial proceedings last week, meeting in open session on April 30, May 1, and May 3, in addition to closed sessions on May 2 and May 3.
The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security released the following report summarizing the results of a Dec. 7 workshop at George Washington University Law School on reforming the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.
On April 25, Col. James Pohl, the presiding judge in United States v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad et al. (commonly called the “9/11 case”), issued a ruling denying defendant Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s motion to dismiss all charges against him for lack of personal jurisdiction.
The Military Commissions Trial Judiciary at Guantanamo Bay issued the following ruling on a defense motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction for absence of hostilities. Military Judge Col. James Pohl denied the motion.
The military commission trying alleged al-Qaeda commander Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi reconvened in public session on April 17 after a break in proceedings since February.
Pursuant to a Feb. 27 order from Col. James Pohl, the presiding judge in United States v.
Last Week at the Military Commissions, Feb. 26-Mar. 2: Judge in 9/11 Case Seeks Answers on Convening Authority Firing
The military commission in United States v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. (the “9/11 case”) reconvened for pretrial proceedings last week, meeting in open session on Feb. 26 and March 1 in addition to several closed sessions through the remainder of the week. (A public transcript has only been released for Feb.
For readers who haven’t kept up with Lawfare’s regular coverage, the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay have just had one hell of a February. On Feb. 5, Defense Secretary James Mattis unceremoniously removed well-respected legal scholar Harvey Rishikof from his role as the military commissions’ convening authority, less than a year after putting him in charge.
If you have paid any attention to the topic of military commissions over the past sixteen years, you do not need me to tell you of the troubles they’ve faced. Whatever their merits in theory (and I do think they have many), in practice they have been vexed beyond belief. Proceedings in cases of immense importance—above all, prosecution for mass murder on 9/11—threaten to rival Jarndyce and Jarndyce for their seemingly-intractable longevity. This is the opposite of what the founders of the system sought in fall 2001.