The Australian section of the ICJ criticises US tribunal

The Australian Section of the ICJ has criticised the US military styled tribunal set to try Australian David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.

In accord with David Hicks’ Pentagon appointed Legal Counsel, Major Mori, ICJ Chairman Steve Mark said: “Australia should be upholding the rule of law in relation to the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, not supporting the so called military tribunal procedure proposed by the United States administration”.

“The tribunals are not courts, they’re not subject to the rule of law, they are not courts martial and subject to American law, Australian law or international law. The procedures do not allow for a fair trial and are not in compliance with the separation of powers doctrine which prevent executive control over what clearly ought to be judicial proceedings”.

“Australia is slavishly following the American proposals without defending its own citizens and it will become very difficult to oppose other totalitarian regimes which similarly avoid international law”.

“David Hicks is clearly a prisoner of war and thus subject to the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War to which the United States is a party. It is not for the United States to decide whether it will carry out its treaty obligations under the Geneva convention, it is a matter of law that it should do so.

“David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib will probably be tried under a retrospective offence enacted by the United States legislature. Retrospective laws are anathema to the rule of law. Retrospective criminal laws are also in breach of international law”, said Mr Mark.

“The US would not expect anything less for its own citizens. It has no justification for avoiding international treaties to which it is a party”, said Mr Mark.

Mr. Mark said the Tribunal is administered by people responsible to George Bush, as Commander in Chief. “He has already expressed negative views about David Hicks and other combatants. American lawyers have criticised the proposed procedure and these remarks by the appointed lawyer are not the first that have been made for people appointed by the US Government to defend Hicks”.

“The United States supported the Taliban during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Political expediency cannot be used as an excuse for breaching human rights particularly at a time when Australia has just acceded to the Presidency to the Commission on Human Rights, a UN body designed to uphold human rights and the rule of law”, said Mr Marks.

NewsNews from the ICJ Sections