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Show Trials at Gitmo?

by SHERWOOD ROSS

The future trials planned for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay detention camp will be “Stalinist show trials” as their preliminary proceedings “have already proven them to be Travesties of Justice,” a distinguished international law authority warns.

“Even worse yet,” says Francis Boyle, professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign, the “fully-functioning Stalinist Gitmo Kangaroo Courts will quickly become conveyor-belts of death for alleged and already tortured terrorist suspects along the lines of the Texas execution chamber operated by George Bush Jr. when he was the ‘governor’ of that state and tortured to death 152 victims by means of lethal injection.”

Saying the Gitmo proceedings are grievously deficient, Boyle asserted “they constitute war crimes under the Laws of War, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and even the U.S. Army’s own Field Manual 27-10, the Laws of Land Warfare (1956.)”

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Boyle said, “executing persons detained as a result of armed conflict without a fair trial before a regularly constituted court constitutes a grave war crime” and the Stalinist-type show trials would do just that, says Boyle. He predicted the Guantanamo Bay prison will become Americas first-ever Nazi-style death camp.

Boyle, who has represented a number of military personnel who refused to participate in illegal U.S. wars in the Middle East, said the Obama administration is continuing the second Bush administration’s “hideous atrocities perpetrated against human rights, international law, civil rights, civil liberties, the U.S. Constitution, and America’s Bill of Rights.”

The law professor went on to charge that the Obama government has not applied the Uniform Code of Military Justice to the Guantanamo courts despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The Pentagon’s “Kangaroo Courts System on Guantanamo…(has) been soundly condemned by every rights organization and every human rights official and leader in the entire world as well as by the United State Supreme Court itself in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld,” Boyle said.

Boyle said that “it would also be perfectly lawful under the Geneva Conventions for the Obama administration to transfer the Gitmo prisoners to a neutral third state party to the Geneva Conventions for criminal trials consistent with the Geneva Conventions requirements for criminal trials.”

Boyle goes on to say some of the prisoners could be tried by the International Criminal Court, “but only for alleged offenses that took place after the ICC was established in 2002.” This perfectly lawful alternative, he said, would not apply to the alleged 9/11 conspirators but “it could and should be applied to other Gitmo prisoners who qualify for ICC prosecution by reason of time of their alleged offenses.”

Boyle said the Obama administration has ruled out alternative prosecutions because “they know the only way they can convict these individuals and sentence them to death is by means of the Gitmo Stalinist/Kangaroo Courts.”

Henry King Jr., who was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials at the end of World War Two, has argued that the type of tribunals at Guantanamo Bay “violates the Nuremberg principles” and run counter to “the spirit of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,” Wikipedia noted.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp was set up in 2002 initially to house prisoners taken by the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Boyle is the author of Protesting Power: War, Resistance and Law (Rowman & Littlefield Inc.), a book for lawyers to use in military courtmartials.

SHERWOOD ROSS, formerly a reporter for major dailies and wire service columnist, runs the Anti-War News Service. To contribute to his work or to comment, contact him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com.

 

 

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