Obama Seeks Delay at Guantanamo Tribunals
In one of his first acts as President, Obama has asked military tribunals preparing to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators, as well as Omar Khadr, to suspend proceedings for 120 days so he can “review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically.” The request was passed through Secretary of Defense Gates.
Such a request may not be automatically granted by military judges, and not all defense attorneys may agree to such a suspension. But the move is a first step toward closing a detention facility and system of military trials that became a worldwide symbol of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism and its unyielding attitude toward foreign and domestic critics.
The legal maneuver appears designed to provide the Obama administration time to refashion the prosecution system and potentially treat detainees as criminal defendants in federal court or have them face war-crimes charges in military courts-martial. It is also possible that the administration could re-form and relocate the military commissions before resuming trials.
Delay and late prosecution is one of the due process violations which have been alleged against the military commissions, especially by the N.Y. Times, the ACLU, and many Democratic congressfolk. Somehow I doubt they’ll oppose this, since they all think that Obama is going to let these terrorists off the hook.