TechNoir (technoir) wrote,

  • Mood:
I guess it is in the hands of the courts now. I suppose we will see the first challenge soon.

Bush to sign US terror trial bill

President George W Bush is due to sign into law a bill that sets standards for the interrogation and prosecution of terror suspects held by the US.

This follows a Supreme Court ruling in June that military tribunals first set up to prosecute detainees at Guantanamo Bay violated US and international law.

The new law protects defendants from blatant abuse but still restricts their right to challenge their detention.

A US spokesman said preparations would now begin to try Guantanamo suspects.

Spokesman Tony Snow said the trials would not happen "overnight" because it was important "to make sure that the defence is going to be able to do its job properly and the prosecution the same."

Nevertheless, once President Bush signed the law, the government would begin preparing the prosecution of some of those held at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he said.

He predicted it would take a month or two to "get things moving towards a trial phase".

Interrogaton techniques

The legislation known as the Military Commissions Act was passed by both houses of Congress in September after intense debate.


The law was drafted after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the original military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to prosecute detainees were in violation of US and international law.

The bill forbids treatment of detainees that would constitute war crimes, such as torture, rape and biological experiments, but gives the president the authority to decide which other techniques interrogators can use.

The law does not require that detainees be granted legal representation. It also bars non-US citizens from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal court.

"President Bush is going to mark this bill signing as a historic moment because it is a law that he knows will be effective in preventing terrorist attacks and keeping Americans safe," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

Civil liberties groups say the law does still not guarantee detainees' rights and legal challenges are to be expected.

The US defence department has laid charges against 10 detainees and is preparing to charge about 65 more.

There are about 450 detainees at Guantanamo, according to the Bush administration.
Tags: politics
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