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USA: Congress passes Military Commissions Act

On 28 September, the US Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Act authorizes trials of terrorist suspects by military commissions and severely restricts detainees’ access to US courts to challenge any aspect of detention, transfer, treatment, trial or conditions of confinement. The Act broadly defines “unlawful enemy combatants,” narrows the scope of war crimes punishable under the War Crimes Act and grants to the President broad authority to interpret the Geneva Conventions. This follows President Bush’s speech on 6 September which acknowledged that the CIA had detained “high-value” terrorist suspects in secret places of detention and which announced the transfer of 14 such detainees to Guantánamo Bay.

MCA 2006