Board Resolution ~ 05/04/2002

On Opposing Implementation of the Procedures for 9/11 Military Commissions

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers On Opposing Implementation of the Procedures for 9/11 Military Commissions 

Cincinnati,Ohio
May 4, 2002

WHEREAS the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, whose members have dedicated their professional lives to defending the Constitution of the United States, supports efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attack on our country;

WHEREAS the rest of the world will note how we treat those persons captured by American forces in the military actions against terrorism;

WHEREAS it is imperative not only that the United States set an example for fair and humane treatment, but that our efforts be perceived as fair and just;

WHEREAS the United States cannot be, or be viewed as being, willing to depart from its own laws and principles;

WHEREAS the international view of the United States as being willing to depart from its own laws and principles imperils our country’s men and women in uniform across the world;

WHEREAS our dedication to the rule of law drives our positions on the creation of military commissions and the rules that will govern them;

WHEREAS we object to the creation of the particular military commissions reflected in the Presidential Order of November 13, 2001, on the basis that the President was not empowered by law to unilaterally create these commissions;

WHEREAS moreover, that position unchanged, the procedures announced as governing such commissions, as promulgated by the Secretary of Defense on March 21, 2002, are also inadequate as a matter of fundamental fairness;

WHEREAS the Preamble to the Manual for Courts-Martial (2000), Paragraph 2(b)(2), states that such commissions “. . . shall be guided by the appropriate principles of law and rules of procedures and evidence prescribed for courts-martial;”

WHEREAS NACDL supports the principle articulated in the Preamble to the Manual for Courts-Martial (2000), Paragraph 2(b)(2), and the procedures promulgated by the Secretary of Defense do not comply with the provisions of the Manual for Courts-Martial,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that NACDL opposes implementation of the procedures promulgated by the Secretary of Defense for these commissions;

IT IS HEREBY FURTHER RESOLVED that NACDL shall urge the President and the Congress of the United States, as well as appropriate judicial tribunals, to find that these procedures promulgated by the Administration to date violate principles of fundamental fairness, and threaten our country’s stature and the welfare of its military personnel throughout the world, and thus that such rules should be revised by the Secretary of Defense through amendment of his Order of March 21, 2002, to make applicable to such commissions the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Manual for Courts-Martial.

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