Kal Raustiala: Guantanamo prisoners deserve fair and just trial
To some critics, of course, no amount of due process can save the military commissions. They see the results as foreordained and the legal process as so much window-dressing. But the commissions, though rarely employed in our history, grow out of a long and honorable tradition of military justice. They can and ought to be fair proceedings. If they are perceived as unfair, they will jeopardize the entire point of war-crimes trials — which is, in the famous words of Justice Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor at Nuremberg, to "stay the hand of vengeance" and submit "captive enemies to the judgment of the law."
That is why the defense lawyers appointed to represent the detainees — American service members who proudly wear our uniform — have vigorously protested the effort to intrude on attorney-client privilege. They recognize an important truth. The U.S., and our long struggle against terrorist violence, will be the loser if the deck is stacked against the Guantanamo defendants.
Kal Raustiala is a professor of law and director of the Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA. He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.
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