02 February 2010

Terrorism trials belong in federal court

Due to logistical concerns, it is now looking quite possible that the trials of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accomplices will not be held in New York -- the primary scene of the crime -- after all. But, regardless of the location, these trials should be held in a federal court.

Some Republicans are instead calling for these and other terrorism-related trials to be handled via the military commission system at Gitmo. However, as we've seen during the Bush administration, that kangaroo court system has done little to achieve justice and has done much to erode America's image in the world with regard to human rights and the rule of law.

And, as the Center for American Progress recently pointed out, the federal court system is much more effective:
"The facts are clear: Criminal courts are a far tougher and more reliable forum for prosecuting terrorists than military commissions.


"The extensive record of criminal courts in successfully prosecuting terrorists stands in stark contrast with the shockingly poor military commissions system. Since 2001 -- the same period in which military commissions have convicted just three terrorists -- criminal courts have convicted more than 200 individuals on terrorism charges, or 65 times more than military commissions. Criminal courts racked up these convictions with none of the uncertainty that still plagues the military commissions system."
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First, agrees, and provides some further food for thought:
"Logistical debates about the appropriate New York venue to hold the trial for four accused 9/11 terrorists do not change the fact that they must be brought to justice in federal court. There can be no dispute that these cases belong in federal civilian court and should be tried on U.S. soil. The victims of 9/11 and the American public deserve to see justice done, and the best way to achieve that is by prosecuting these men in a reliable and credible criminal justice system where the focus will be on their culpability, not on the lack of legitimacy or fairness of the proceedings. Federal trials are part of a coherent and smart counter-terrorism strategy, which involves treating these perpetrators as criminals and depriving them of the warrior status they crave. This is an important distinction and will help thwart their ability to recruit others to their cause. Logistical and security concerns can -- and should -- be addressed. But they cannot overshadow the importance of these federal trials."
Amen to that.

1 comment:

  1. This shows true insipid thinking. I am left of center and you have no idea of what these terrorist are; enemy combatants who kill innocent people. I am highly educated as well as anti-racist,pro-choice,pro LGBT rights etc.
    This strategy is reminiscent of Ghandi at his worst: writing to Hitler to stop war.Ghandi knew how to die but not survive.He was severely pacifist since he was a religous fanatic who believed the soul goes to the universal soul if one refrains from killing-even if it is defensive.Do we stop rape,genocide or fascism ? I 'd guess those supporting the above writing would say that they wouldn't ever defend themselves. You like to sound as though above others who are not as spiritual as you believe yourselves to be.
    Left of center is not the same as knee-jerk liberal.The supporters of the federal trial strategy misconstrue the animosity of the terrorist to be anti-American and therefore good. I'm guessing that your psyche buys into the idea that to just be anti-American is good.Listen these terrorist would be all to happy to kill you.They aren't tolerant,nor are they socialists or liberal. They believe in the chopping block for women who wear lipstick! Why not just give them therapy after making them citizens-and work in a petting zoo.
    You pursue a self-rightouesness that is blindness and shows middle-class white elitism.
    I worked in poverty schools in NYC as a teacher . Try working in difficult environments with poor people. You would then get in touch with reality.
    The jihadist must be eliminated or they will eliminate us.