ADL Calls Bush Administration Military Commission Guidelines 'A Significant Step Forward'
New York, NY, March 25, 2002 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the newly issued guidelines on military commissions as "a significant step forward" in efforts to balance national security interests with traditional rights accorded criminal suspects in American courts. The League noted that the guidelines address many of the constitutional concerns raised by the President's initial outline of military tribunal procedures last fall.
Reacting to the Department of Defense order on military tribunals, Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The Department of Defense order on military commissions refines and improves upon the procedures originally announced last November. These guidelines are a significant step forward in the continuing effort to balance national security and constitutional protections for the accused in American courts. We are pleased to see that the guidelines make clear that detainees will be presumed innocent, will have their choice of counsel, and that a unanimous decision would be required in death penalty cases.
These guidelines honor American due process traditions, while appropriately taking into account that this is a time of war and of extraordinary threat to our nation. We hope that this is the first step toward speedily bringing all those detained in Guantanamo Bay to justice.
We urge the Administration to consult with Congress as these guidelines are further developed and implemented. Congress should continue to take an active oversight role in seeking further refinements -- including expanded judicial review -- that appropriately balance security interests with safeguards for the accused.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.