Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama acts on Guantanamo trials.

Barack Obama has made his first move since becoming president and has requested the suspension of all military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.

The request would halt proceedings in 21 pending cases, including one against five men accused of plotting the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Barack Obama has repeatedly promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where some 250 inmates accused of links to terrorism remain.

Just hours after taking the oath of office on the steps of the US Capitol, he moved to halt the controversial process of military tribunals.

The two-page document, ordered jointly by Mr Obama and the US Department of Defense, seeks a 120-day suspension of trials and will be heard by two tribunal judges on Wednesday.
The delay would "permit the newly inaugurated president and his administration time to review the military commission process", the document said.

The legal process has been widely criticised because the US military acts as jailer, judge and jury, says the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington.
In his inaugural address Obama attacked the false choice "between our safety and our ideals" and, with this first decision, he seems determined to live up to that promise.

The days of the Bush administration, where the president claimed the power to remove a persons liberty, outwith the reach of any court, appears to be at an end.

Of course, we have still to discover what Obama intends to do with these people, but stopping the ridiculous aberration of justice which these military tribunals represented is a very good first step.

Click title for full article.


Steel Phoenix said...

I like his response. Shut it down immediately, and keep the dirty work of sorting out the innocent from the really nasty, behind the scenes until after the first 120 days. The bills going through congress extending rules to anyone in U.S. custody are a huge step as well.

Kel said...

It's a great start, SP. After the last eight years, it's long overdue.