RealNews

U.S. Adds Legal Rights In Tribunals

The Bush administration has settled on a complex set of military tribunal regulations more advantageous to al Qaeda and Taliban defendants than the guidelines President Bush originally issued in November, knowledgeable sources said yesterday. The new rules would require a unanimous vote of judges to impose the death penalty on convicted terrorists — not the two-thirds vote Bush had suggested in his Nov. 13 executive order establishing the tribunals. And while the president’s original order barred appeals after conviction, the new regulations allow military officers to review a tribunal’s decision on appeal. Yet the new rules, scheduled to be announced today, also give prosecutors more leeway than they would have in criminal courts. Hearsay or secondhand evidence could be used in the new tribunals, for example, although it is barred in ordinary criminal trials and courts-martial. Full Story

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