David Frakt, Associate Professor of Law at Western State University College of Law and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve JAG Corps, isn’t completely satisfied with the Defense Department’s new Manual for Military Commissions. Since he was lead defense counsel with the Office of Military Commissions he knows what he’s talking about.
The Manual is the primary implementing regulation for the Military Commissions Act of 2009, containing detailed procedural guidance, rules of evidence, and a penal code with explanations of the offenses which may be prosecuted in these military tribunals.
On the whole, the 2009 MCA is substantially fairer than the 2006 version of the law and the new Manual also contains some significant improvement over the previous version. The standards for admissibility of coerced statements and hearsay evidence, for example, now are much closer to the standards which apply in general courts-martial and federal court. There is, however, some very troubling language in the new Manual relating to the proof required to convict for certain offenses, which undermines the Obama Administration’s claims of respect for the law of war and adherence to the rule of law.
The rest is at Huffington Post. (David Frakt is my cousin.)