Kangaroo Courts

Reuters reports this morning on Pentagon plans to beam television coverage of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay to four military bases in the United States, where relatives of victims of 9/11 can watch the proceedings for defendants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The plan mirrors what was done in the federal criminal trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, when family members were allowed to watch court proceedings via closed-circuit television (despite a general ban on television in federal courts).

I understand the Pentagon's impulse to let victims' families watch these proceedings. I also understand the strategic imperative to broadcast the trials to show the world that something is being done to prosecute terrorist suspects. If we made these trials fair (such as by conforming their rules of procedure to those used for courts-martial) and broadcast them, that might have some value. But the commissions today are kangaroo courts that confer little legitimacy on the outcome. The transparency of a televised trial will only highlight that to the world.

By Phillip Carter |  April 21, 2008; 8:42 AM ET  | Category:  Law
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This is pretty pathetic. Not only does this cater to the appearance of these trials as vengence, the exclusion of the rest of the public seems very unnecessary. OSD (or the White House) needs to determine how they're serving the public good in this case. Certainly it's not by entertaining the blood lust of the relatives of the 9/11 victims.

Posted by: Jason | April 21, 2008 9:45 AM

Why don't we just rent the coliseum and get some lions, they work cheaper than lawyers.?

Oh yea, I remember now, we can't go to Italy because there is are 22 arrest warrants out for the CIA team that kidnapped the muslim cleric in Milan, back in 2003.

Such as shame when your past illegal actions curtail putting on a good vengeful spectacular.

Posted by: James M | April 21, 2008 6:55 PM

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