The French for Terrorist Prosecution
Eric Posner, one of my colleagues over at Slate's Convictions legal blog, posits a Catch-22 for the Guantanamo Bay commissions, whereby they are illegitimate if they go forward and legitimate but ineffective if military critics stall them indefinitely.
For a variety of legal, policy and practical reasons, the commissions are fundamentally and fatally flawed. But if these are really bad guys, then we need to find some way to prosecute them.
Our French allies across the Atlantic may have found a way. A French court yesterday sentenced seven men for aiding al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia by funneling young Frenchmen to Iraq to wage war against U.S. and coalition forces there. French prosecutors brought the case in civilian court, using a combination of open and sealed (i.e. classified) evidence to prove the defendants' guilt in a six-day trial this past March. Now the defendants are headed for prison -- and the French get to put points on the scoreboard in the fight against terrorism.
Maybe we can learn a thing or two from Paris?
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