Ex-Prosecutors: Use Courts, Not Tribunals, For Terror Cases


Two former federal prosecutors say that when it comes to handling accused terrorists, the best way is the old way: Put them on trial in civilian courts, not military tribunals, the Associated Press Reports. A report examines 123 terrorist cases from the past 15 years. The two authors say that the courts were able to produce just, reliable results while protecting national security. The report comes at a time when the Bush administration’s system of military commissions remains mired in delays.

The report was written by New York lawyers Richard Zabel and James Benjamin of the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The two former assistant U.S. attorneys worked with the group Human Rights First in the study. It said that in courtrooms, prosecutors have used an array of law enforcement tools, from specially tailored anti-terrorism laws to generally applicable criminal laws. The government has balanced defendants’ fair trial rights with the need to protect national security information by using the Classified Information Procedures Act, which lays out a system for accommodating both.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/28/AR2008052801067.html

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