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Guantanamo: Military commissions 'can't be fixed'-call to scrap discredited trials

In response to reports that the United States government is set to revive “military commissions” to try Guantánamo detainees, Amnesty International has called on President Barack Obama to scrap the heavily-criticised procedures and replace them with civilian trials if necessary.

Amnesty International USA Researcher Rob Freer said:

“You cannot revamp a system that is, in essence, unfair.

“The US has a functioning civilian criminal justice system that is used to dealing with complex trials. This is the system that the US administration should be using for any Guantánamo detainee it decides to prosecute.

“Military commissions were conceived and developed as part of an unlawful detention regime, to facilitate convictions while minimising judicial scrutiny of the executive’s treatment of detainees.

“No amount of tinkering with their rules can fix this discredited system. The commissions - which President Obama has himself described as an ‘enormous failure’ - should be scrapped.”

Amnesty has been calling on the new US administration to abandon the military commissions, withdraw all charges under the Military Commissions Act (legislation which, as a Senator, Barack Obama, voted against), and to immediately transfer to the US mainland any Guantánamo detainee who is to be charged. These detainees, say Amnesty, should be brought before a civilian judicial authority and promptly charged with specific offences under applicable federal law.

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