A recent prisoner transfer deal relating to Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks won’t do anything to legitimise the US military commission process, said Australian Law Council President John North in a statement. On 10th May Prime Minister John Howard signed off on a deal to have Hicks serve his sentence in Australia if he is convicted. However, the same day, British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith said Guantanamo detainees could not be guaranteed a fair trial and called for the closing of the facility.
North questioned the merits of bringing Hicks to serve in Australia a prison sentence handed down by a process the Law Council and many others regard as unfair and unconstitutional. “We have been saying for many years that the US military commission system is unjust and would never allow Mr Hicks a fair trial,” Mr North said. “Bringing Mr Hicks to Australia to serve any sentence cannot be seen as condoning the military commission process — a process which simply isn’t fair,” he said.
The Law Council’s preference has been for Hicks to be spared any form of trial by military commission and instead have his case heard in court or, failing that, to be released.