Hicks agreement cannot legitimise military commission process, Law Council warns

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has warned that allowing Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks to serve gaol time in Australia will do "nothing" to legitimise the US military commission process. The Law Council's comments follow the signing of the prisoner transfer agreement on 9/05/2006 that would apparently allow Mr Hicks, if found guilty, to serve his prison term in his home country.

President of the LCA, John North, has questioned the merits of making Mr Hicks serve in Australia a prison sentence handed down by a process the Law Council and many others regard as "unfair" and "unconstitutional." According to Mr Noth, it is entirely indefensible and no longer tenable for the Australian Government to defend the military commission system.

"We have been saying for many years that the US military commission system is unjust and would never allow Mr Hicks a fair trial," Mr North said. "Bringing Mr Hicks to Australia to serve any sentence cannot be seen as condoning the military commission process - a process which simply isn't fair."

Mr North said that the Law Council's preference had always been for Mr Hicks to be spared any form of trial by military commission and instead have his case heard by a legitimate and fair court or, failing that, to be released.

"The Law Council has consistently argued that detainees such as David Hicks should be afforded basic legal rights, but the military commission process is demonstrably incapable of delivering fairness and justice," he concluded.

12 May, 2006
Findlaw

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