quarta-feira, 6 de agosto de 2008

A justiça de Bush em Guantanamo

O Prof Farlei Martins envia esta matéria publica na revista Economist neste mês de agosto de 2008 a respeito dos primeiros julgamentos de crimes de guerra após a Segunda Guerra Mundial, A matéria lembra que, apesar dos avanços, a justiça pratica continua com alguns procedimentos secretos.
A mixed verdict

A conviction in the first American war-crimes trial since the second world
SALIM HAMDAN admitted that he was Osama bin Laden's driver. But was he a
terrorist? Captured in Afghanistan and later transferred to Guantánamo Bay,
he has become the first person to hear a verdict from the military
commissions set up to try Guantánamo's detainees. On Wednesday August 6th he
was convicted of supporting terrorism, but acquitted of conspiring to commit
war crimes with al-Qaeda.
The fact that the verdict was a mixed one might suggest that these are not
mere kangaroo courts. Mr Hamdan was a little-educated fellow who may well
not have had any access to al-Qaeda's plans. But a navy officer testified
that the defendant had pledged allegiance to Mr bin Laden, and professed his
zeal for jihad. Even if he worked at a low level, it seems that he was an
enthusiastic cog in a terrorist machine.
Critics of the trials are not placated, however. The composition and
procedures of the commissions have improved since they were first conceived
by the Bush administration and subsequently ruled to be unlawful by the
Supreme Court in 2006 (in a case brought by Mr Hamdan against Donald
Rumsfeld). But the court that convicted Mr Hamdan was not allowed to hear
allegations that he was interrogated brutally by CIA officers before his
transfer to Guantánamo Bay, or indeed to hear mention of the intelligence
agency at all. According to human-rights groups the defendant suffered sleep
deprivation, harassment and inappropriate touching by a female guard while
in detention. His lawyers argued that harsh treatment could render
unreliable his confession that he had taken an oath of allegiance to Mr bin
Although the trial was held in the open, with reporters observing much of
it, important chunks were kept secret. The decision rendering Mr Hamdan's
confession admissible in the court was heavily redacted, so observers could
not assess why exactly the judge felt the confession was legally sound. Two
defence witnesses were made to testify in secret. Mr Hamdan's lawyers,
military men with top-secret clearance, were presented with some evidence
just before the trial began. Other pieces were delivered even as the trial
was under way. They were not given access to the CIA officers who first held
Mr Hamdan. Secrecy is frequently part of military trials, however critics
say that in this case the reason was not national security but to protect
those who may have authorised brutal treatment of Mr Hamdan.
Mr Hamdan now probably faces life in prison, unless a planned appeal is
successful. Attempts, once again, to question the fairness of the
commissions could derail trials that are set to follow, of bigger fish, some
of whom could face the death penalty. The biggest of them is Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the 2001 attacks on New York and
Washington, DC. He has said that he wishes to receive "martyrdom" at
American hands. If he were to be put to death after a trial that is seen as
flawed, that appearance of martyrdom could seem to be much the greater.
Those who want accountability for the September 11th attacks may come to
conclude that the full force of a proper American trial, long and often
frustrating though it may be, would render a more satisfying form of

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