Human rights groups reacted with anger and disappointment Friday to President Barack Obama’s revival of special military trials of terror suspects, saying the system was flawed beyond repair.
In announcing the return of the military commission system devised by former president George W. Bush, Obama also proposed reforms that he said would restore them “as a legitimate forum for prosecution, while bringing them in line with the rule of law.”
But human rights organizations almost in unison called it a bad idea, insisting that even with changes the special military tribunals would provide substandard justice and meet with delays and legal challenges.
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“The military commissions system is flawed beyond repair,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “By resurrecting this failed Bush administration idea, President Obama is backtracking dangerously on his reform agenda.”
The American Civil Liberties Union called it “a striking blow to due process and the rule of law.”
“Tweaking the rules of these failed tribunals so that they provide ‘more due process’ is absurd,” said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero. “There is no such thing as ‘-due process light.’”