JURIST Supported by the University of Pittsburgh
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Terrorism trials should be held in US federal courts: rights group
Jaclyn Belczyk at 9:13 AM ET

[JURIST] Terrorism suspects should be prosecuted in US federal courts [press release] instead of military commissions, according to a report [text, PDF] released Thursday by Human Rights First [advocacy website]. The report, prepared by two former federal prosecutors, claims that the civilian court system is fully equipped to try terrorism cases and argues against the creation of a new security court system or indefinite detention of certain individuals. According to the report, there is a 91 percent conviction rate for terrorism suspects in federal courts:

In sum, the federal courts, while not perfect, are a fit and flexible resource that should be used along with other government resources — including military force, intelligence gathering, diplomatic efforts, and cultural and economic initiatives — as an important part of a multi-pronged counterterrorism strategy. In contrast, the creation of a brand-new court system or preventive detention scheme from scratch would be expensive, uncertain, and almost certainly controversial.

The report is a followup from a May 2008 report [text, PDF; JURIST report] that reached the same conclusion.

The issue of where to try terrorism suspects has recently become controversial in the wake of US President Barack Obama's executive order [text; JURIST report] to close the military prison facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Last month, the first Guantanamo detainee was transferred to the US to face trial [JURIST report] in a civilian court. In May, Obama announced [JURIST report] that he would revive the controversial military commissions system to try some Guantanamo detainees. The move drew criticism [JURIST report] from human rights groups, which called the plan "fatally flawed," continuing a long line of criticism of the commissions [JURIST report] for admitting some evidence that is barred from federal court, including hearsay or coerced confessions.

Link |  | print | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | Facebook page

For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


 Thailand king endorses interim constitution
11:21 PM ET, July 23

 Supreme Court allows execution of Arizona prisoner
6:14 PM ET, July 23

 UK to introduce laws to eradicate female genital mutilation
9:43 AM ET, July 23

 click for more...

Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!


Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
Ramzi Kassem
CUNY School of Law


Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.


Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org