From the American Civil Liberties Union, June 4:
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, CUBA – A United States military judge today dismissed charges in the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was 15 years old when he was arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The American Civil Liberties Union said today’s surprise decision is further evidence that the Military Commissions Act signed by President Bush in October 2006 is fundamentally flawed.
Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, attended the proceedings in Guantánamo Bay today and issued the following statement:
“This is a major setback for the military commissions. The ACLU has been monitoring this system for three years now and over that time the only constant we have observed has been chaos. The court’s dismissal of the charges against Khadr provides even more evidence that these proceedings are fundamentally flawed. It is long past time that war crimes trials are shifted to ordinary courts martial or civilian courts. The civilian courts in the United States have dealt successfully with terrorism prosecutions over the last five years.
“The Bush administration cannot simply ignore the rule of law and create its own legal system for trying detainees and expect prosecutions to run smoothly.”
The ACLU has called on Congress and the Bush administration to shut down Guantánamo Bay. Last month, the ACLU endorsed legislation introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) that would effectively end the practice of indefinite detention without charge or due process for detainees who have been held for as long as five years without knowing the reason for their detention. It would also provide an incentive for the government to finally charge those detainees it believes are guilty of crimes against the United States.