Hicks commission unfit to deliver justice: Law Council
THE LAW Council of Australia has blasted a decision by the United States to press ahead with military commission proceedings against Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.
“Mr Hicks could be months away from being placed at the mercy of a system that has been described by many as unfair, rigged and flawed,” President-elect of the Law Council, Tim Bugg, said.
“The constantly changing military commission process has been heavily criticised by legal experts from both Australia and abroad,” Bugg said. “Even the United States’ own military lawyers have been scathing in their opinion of the system’s ability to deliver justice.” In Australia, he added, a senior army officer called recently for the military commission trials to be “abandoned” altogether.
The Law Council comments come as the United States lifts a stay on the Australian’s trial, which apparently now clears the way for him to face the military commission to answer charges that he was involved in terrorist activity. He is the only Guantanamo Bay detainee facing a commission hearing.
The Law Council recently criticised “trivial” changes to the military commission process, claiming they would do little to improve Hicks’ chances of receiving a fair trial.
“Despite claims to the contrary by the US, given the process has been so drawn-out up until now, the Law Council doubts whether Mr Hicks will get his day in court in the near future,” Bugg said. “The goalposts are constantly being shifted. The fact that the US is constantly tinkering with the system indicates that it is flawed and not fit to try anyone.”