Today’s ruling is yet more proof that the ad hoc military commissions process is unjust, unconstitutional, and unworkable. Ali al-Bahlul’s is the second case tried to a verdict before a military commission—and the second conviction vacated by the federal courts. An illegitimate process will yield an illegitimate result, and this ruling should be understood as yet another blow to a two-tiered system of justice. We hope that the government will forgo further appeals in the Bahlul case, and focus on closing Guantánamo once and for all. Rather than half-measures and indefinite detention, President Obama should provide fair trials for men who can be charged, and immediately release those whom he has no intention of charging, including the 86 men who have long been cleared for transfer. Today’s ruling is another clear indication that anything short of shuttering Guantánamo forever falls short of constitutional and human rights principles.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.