/ July 21, 2008

US Opens First War Crimes Trial Since WWII

The trial of Salim Hamdan, former driver of Osama bin Laden, began this week in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba making history for a number of reasons. Hamdan’s trial is the first of a number of US war crimes trials that will prosecute prisoners allegedly involved in the attacks on September 11th and also the first of its kind in over 60 years. It has taken nearly seven years to begin the trials but time has not made the court forget its responsibility to the judicial system. The honorable Judge Keith Allred made a point to remind all potential jurors that their previous knowledge and feelings about the attacks on America can not be involved in their deliberation.

The trial has started out slowly beginning with an official not guilty plea from Hamdan and now has moved onto jury selection. Considering the nature of the case, it is necessary that both the judge and jurors are military officers. The prosecution and defense must agree on at least 5 of those chosen by the Pentagon to serve on the jury panel for the trial. In addition to the reminder issued by Allred, he was also sure to strike any evidence he considered to be gathered inappropriately. With emotions still running high from the 9/11 attacks and questions lingering about the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, it will be hard for the landmark case to stay out of the spotlight. It is clear though from Allred’s various decisions, he would like the trial to move forward quickly and remain as non-controversial as possible.

Source: ABC News

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