For Immediate Release: January 19, 2007
Human Rights First expressed deep concern that the Defense Department’s proposed rules for military commission trials released today fail to meet fundamental fair trial standards and urged Congress to hold hearings in order to review the rules and to ensure that any trials conducted in the name of the United States meet those standards.
The proposed rules fail to remedy many of the flawed provisions of the Military Commissions Act, including: permitting the use of evidence obtained through coercion, permitting the defendant to be excluded from trial in some instances, and limiting the defendant’s access to exculpatory evidence.
“No civilized nation permits convictions to rest on coerced evidence, and reliance on such evidence has never been acceptable in military or civilian courts in this country,” said Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First. “There’s a good reason why such tainted evidence is not allowed. It is inherently unreliable, and permitting its use debases the military justice system and dangerously undermines the prohibition on torture and abusive treatment. The fact that the military commission rules allow such evidence to be used calls the legitimacy of the entire system into question.”