At last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, after Attorney General Eric Holder again refused to rule out a civilian trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shot back: “We know the administration is not going to hold the trial in New York. They should just say it already.” But the Obama administration will fight reality on this issue for as long as politically possible because the far left and Attorney General Holder still believe military tribunals for KSM and other terrorists are inconsistent with the Geneva Convention. Holder, et al. are wrong. Retired U.S. Naval officer and military commission judge Keith Allred explains why:
Unlawful combatants are entitled to be tried in a forum that meets the standards of the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3: a “regularly constituted court that afford[s] all the judicial guarantees . . . recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” A military commission meets this standard, and trying unlawful combatants in a military commission advances important national interests in encouraging compliance with the laws of armed conflict.
Much has been said to impugn the military commissions as unfair, inadequate forums for the trials of these and other unlawful combatants. But the Geneva Conventions expressly contemplate tribunals for unlawful combatants that are less protective of their rights than the forum guaranteed to lawful combatants. Congress understood this scheme when it established military commissions to try unprivileged belligerents, as contemplated by Common Article 3. Trying these men in federal court improperly rewards their abuse of civilian status to engage in hostilities by giving them greater protection than we would give to a prisoner who complied with the laws of war. This is a dangerous precedent, and there is no need for it.