United States Court of Military Commission Review

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United States Court of Military Commission Review
(C.M.C.R.)
Location Washington, D.C.
Appeals to D.C. Circuit
Appeals from Guantanamo military commissions
Established 2006
Authorized by 10 U.S.C. § 950f
Composition method Presidential nomination
with Senate advice and consent
(or commissioned officers serving as military judges)
Chief Judge Paulette V. Burton
Official court website

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 mandated that rulings from the Guantanamo military commissions could be appealed to a Court of Military Commission Review, which would sit in Washington D.C..[1][2][3][4]

In the event, the Review Court was not ready when it was first needed.[1] Peter Brownback and Keith J. Allred, the officers appointed to serve as Presiding Officers in the Military Commissions that charged Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan dismissed the charges against the two men because the Military Commissions Act only authorized the commissions to try "unlawful enemy combatants".[2][5][5][6] Khadr and Hamdan, like 570 other Guantanamo captives had merely been confirmed to be "enemy combatants".

The Court of Military Commission Review ruled that Presiding Officers were, themselves, authorized to rule whether suspects were "illegal enemy combatant".[7][8][9]

Judges[edit]

Swearing in judges on the Court of Military Commission Review.[2] John Rolph swears in Paul Holden, Dawn Scholz, Steven Walburn, Amy Bechtold, Steven Thompson, Lisa Schenck, and Eric Geiser.

To be eligible for a seat on the Court of Military Commissions Review, candidates must currently be serving as a judge on either the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, or be nominated by the President of the United States.

United States v. Mohammed Jawad[edit]

Stephen R. Henley the Presiding Officer in United States v. Mohamed Jawad had ruled that evidence that was the result of torture could not be used.[10] On February 9, 2009, three judges from the Court, Frank J. Williams, Dan O’Toole, and D. Francis were empaneled to consider whether they should comply with the President's Executive Order halting all their proceedings.[11]

Suspension[edit]

On January 22, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13492 ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, within one year.[12] That order temporarily suspended all proceedings before the Court of Military Commission Review. Congress later blocked the closure of the camp.

Appeal of the verdict of Ali Al Bahlul's military commission[edit]

Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, reported that Ali Al Bahlul's military defense attorneys filed a fifty-page appeal of his sentence on free speech grounds on September 2, 2009.[13][14] They claimed his production of al Qaeda propaganda material was protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

"Mr. al Bahlul is not a sympathetic defendant. He embraces an ideology that glorifies violence, justifies terrorism and opposes constitutional democracy. As offensive as it may be, [Bahlul's film work] is speech that falls within the core protections of the First Amendment, which forbids the prosecution of 'the thoughts, the beliefs, the ideals of the accused."'

Three of the Court's judges assembled on January 26, 2010 to hear oral arguments.[15] Following that, the CMCR determined to proceed with the case en banc and held a hearing on March 16, 2011.[16] The CMCR issued an opinion on September 9, 2011, that upheld al Bahlul's conviction.[17]

Salim Hamdan's appeal[edit]

Attorneys working on behalf of Salim Hamdan have appealed his conviction, and oral arguments were heard on January 26, 2010.[15] Hamdan has already finished serving his sentence.

Replacement proposal[edit]

Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, reported that the Obama Administration had proposed a change in where appeals of the rulings and verdicts of military commissions would be heard.[13] The proposed changes would have had them first heard by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which Rosenberg noted was an experienced, respected 58-year-old institution. Under the current rules of the court, there is no appeal to rulings of the Court of Military Commission Review; under the proposed changes, appeals could ultimately have been taken to the United States Supreme Court.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Matt Apuzzo (August 22, 2007). "Growing Pains for Terror Appeals Court". Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Jason Jones. "Navy Judges Lend Expertise to the Court of Military Commission Review" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Military Commission Review Panel Takes Oath of Office". Department of Defense. September 22, 2004. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Q&A: Guantanamo detentions". BBC News. January 22, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Sergeant Sara Wood (June 4, 2007). "Charges Dismissed Against Canadian at Guantanamo". Department of Defense. Retrieved June 7, 2007. 
  6. ^ Sergeant Sara Wood (June 4, 2007). "Judge Dismisses Charges Against Second Guantanamo Detainee". Department of Defense. Retrieved June 7, 2007. 
  7. ^ Matt Apuzzo (August 24, 2007). "White House Defends US Terror Tribunals". Washington Post. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  8. ^ "A new court for Gitmo". Court Artist. August 25, 2007. Archived from the original on May 30, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Factsheet: Military Commissions". Center for Constitutional Rights. Archived from the original on May 30, 2009. 
  10. ^ "U.S. court hears arguments over young detainee's confession". CBC News. January 13, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  11. ^ "UNITED STATES COURT OF MILITARY COMMISSION REVIEW Before F. Williams, D. Francis, and D. O'Toole". United States Department of Justice. February 9, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 30, 2009. 
  12. ^ "EXECUTIVE ORDER – REVIEW AND DISPOSITION OF INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT THE GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE AND CLOSURE OF DETENTION FACILITIES". The White House. January 22, 2009. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Carol Rosenberg (September 2, 2009). "Bin Laden aide's Gitmo conviction appealed". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on September 2, 2009. 
  14. ^ Michel Paradis; Todd E. Pierce; Katherine Doxakis; Scott Medlyn (September 1, 2009). "Brief on behalf of appellant: CMCR Case no. 09-001". Department of Defense. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "US Military Panel Hears 1st Guantanamo Appeal". Voice of America. January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Summary of Arguments in the Government's Briefs in al-Bahlul and Hamdan". Lawfare. March 16, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Panel upholds Al Qaida filmmaker's life sentence". Miami Herald. September 10, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.