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Amnesty Int'l News Release on Bush Military Tribunals

Amnesty Int'l concerned over many implications of Bush's directive.
>*News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
>15 November 2001
>AMR 51/165/2001
>Amnesty International is deeply troubled by the Military Order signed by
>President George W. Bush on 13 November allowing for the trial by special
>military commissions of non-US citizens suspected of involvement in
>"international terrorism."
>Since the attacks in the USA on 11 September, Amnesty International has been
>calling for anyone suspected of involvement in these crimes to be brought to
>justice in accordance with international standards for a fair trial. This
>sweeping presidential order bypasses those fundamental principles, in
>contravention of US obligations under international law, specifically the
>International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the USA in
>1992. As such it is unacceptable and should be revoked.
>Amnesty International is particularly concerned that the Military Order:
>- is discriminatory by affording foreign nationals a lower standard of
>justice than US nationals;
>- gives unfettered and unchallengeable discretionary power to the executive
>to decide whom will be prosecuted and under what rules, as well as to review
>convictions and sentences. This is inconsistent with the principle of the
>separation of the executive and the judiciary;
>- expressly bypasses the normal principles of law and rules of evidence
>applied in the trials of people charged with criminal offences in the US
>- provides no right of appeal against conviction or sentence to a higher
>court, or access to redress for any human rights violations that may occur
>during arrest, detention or prosecution;
>Amnesty International believes that the Military Order creates a parallel
>system which violates fundamental principles of justice in any
>circumstances, including in times of war. For example, the 1949 Geneva
>Conventions, ratified by the USA in 1955, require that prisoners of war must
>be tried in courts which guarantee fundamental rights of fairness, including
>the right of appeal.
>Amnesty International is particularly alarmed that the death penalty may be
>imposed by such a tribunal. International standards require that the legal
>process in any capital proceedings provide "all possible safeguards" to
>ensure a fair trial, including the right to appeal.
>The Military Order creates the risk that people may be executed after a
>trial conducted by a court whose decision cannot be appealed but only
>reviewed by the executive who selected the individual for prosecution in the
>first place.
>Amnesty International believes that the Military Order threatens to severely
>undermine, rather than reinforce, confidence in the administration of
>justice and maintenance of the rule of law. The organization considers that
>in proceedings undertaken pursuant to this order, justice will neither be
>done, nor seen to be done.
>Times of crisis pose particular challenges to governments. It is precisely
>in such times that the principles of fair justice must be scrupulously
>upheld. The suffering of the victims of the attacks of 11 September, their
>families, and the public at large, deserves no less.
>You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main
>text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting
>Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the
>list subscription message may be removed.



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