Friday, May 23, 2008

Just A Little Sunshine, At Last

As the military tribunals set up to give the Guantanamo detainees "fair trials" continue to gear up, a little bit of good news was announced. The highest court of the land declared that the Constitution was violated during some interviews. Unfortunately for us, the highest court and the Constitution was that of Canada, not the United States, but at least one Supreme Court in one country is beginning to get just what a mockery of justice all of this has been. From an AP report:

Canada's government violated the constitution when it gave American officials the results of interviews conducted with a Canadian detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison, the nation's top court said Friday.

The high court ruled 9-0 that Omar Khadr has a constitutional right to material directly related to interviews that Canadian intelligence officials conducted with him during his detention.

Khadr's attorneys say they'll use the documents to help defend him against a murder charge before a U.S. tribunal. ...

The court said the Canadian government violated a provision in Canada's bill of rights that requires disclosure of evidence.

The high court said Canada was wrong to interview Khadr in a place where international laws are not followed and that Canada became a participant in a process that violated Canada's international human rights obligations.
[Emphasis added]

Well, it's about damned time somebody noticed and then actually did something about it! I'm not so sure that our Supreme Court is capable of such a decision or of such a description of what is actually going on at Guantanamo Bay.

The decision is by no means perfect, in fact, it has some serious flaws. The review process mandated by the decision still gives the Canadian government some wiggle-room if they feel compelled to engage in some CYA:

The court said a lower court judge will now review the interview material, receive submissions from the parties and "decide which documents fall within the scope of the disclosure obligation."

That could leave the door open for the government to raise objections on some material by citing national security.

Nathan Whitling, Khadr's lawyer, said he was happy with the ruling, but the court's decision limits what they will be able to see.

It still won't be a fair trial by any civilized standard, but at least one defendant will be able to see some of the evidence for the charges brought against him. That is a first. It's only a start, but it is a start.

And it was a unanimous decision, as it should have been.

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Blogger shrimplate said...

Guantanamo should be immediately closed and it occupants freed.

If they're really as badass as the administration claims, then they should all be given jobs protecting Congressional pages and aides from Republican predators legislators.

9:35 AM  
Blogger shrimplate said...


Must. Have. More. Coffee.

9:37 AM  

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