Yesterday, Amnesty International USA marked this anniversary with the following press release:
Amnesty International Tells President Bush to End the Military Commissions Farce and Adhere to the Rule of Law on the First Anniversary of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
(Washington, DC) -- Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director, issued the following statement on the eve of the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The court ruled that President Bush did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the original military commissions illegal under both military law and the Geneva conventions:
"The historic ruling by the court a year ago was the beginning of the end of President Bush's experiment in cowboy-style executive justice. Recently, the administration and congressional efforts to validate and continue this unfair practice were stopped in their tracks, again -- this time by the military judges hand-picked to preside over the extremely flawed commissions.
"When Bush officials go to Congress, help draft the legislation establishing military commissions, write the rules and the regulations, yet still cannot move a case through the system, it is a wake-up call that the scheme is a complete and utter failure.
"President Bush's desire to try non-citizens in a made-up judicial structure lacking fundamental due process protections has resulted in one questionable plea bargain, two cases where charges were dismissed and no prosecutions in the foreseeable future. And not one of those cases directly ties to the tragedy of 9/11. That's a shameful record of bringing people to justice for the crimes of that day.
"What else needs to happen for the Bush administration to understand that to bring perpetrators to account, the rule of law must be applied? It is beyond time for President Bush to acknowledge the message that the Supreme Court sent him last year - unfair trials do not survive the scrutiny of justice.
"So let's stop trying to revive a comatose commissions system and instead try detainees in the United States' entirely functional federal court system."