For Immediate Release: September 26, 2011
Washington, DC – The United States should not try Ali Mussa Daqduq – a Lebanese man thought to be a commander of Hezbollah – before a military tribunal whether at Guantanamo or at a military facility within the United States, said Human Rights First today.
“Guantanamo has been a limited and failed experiment,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “Expanding military tribunals at this point sends the wrong signal that federal courts are unable to prosecute these types of cases, when the facts unequivocally demonstrate that civilian courts are reliable and effective.”
As Human Rights First has noted in the past, civilian federal courts have convicted over 400 individuals of terrorism-related offenses since 9/11, while commissions have convicted only six. Many of the federal civilian court cases involved individuals who had plotted attacks internationally or were otherwise captured abroad.
Reports suggest that Daqduq worked with local insurgent groups to capture and execute four U.S. soldiers during fighting in Iraq, which would constitute a war crime under international law. Federal criminal law gives civilian courts the power to punish individuals for committing war crimes.
“Terrorists want us to overreact and abandon our time-tested laws and institutions. The Obama Administration should not back down by weakening our civil justice system and expanding military tribunals,” concluded Wala.