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US Supreme Court Rules Secret Guantanamo Bay Trials Illegal

The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Guantanamo detainee who is fighting to have an open trial. Under the Bush administration, secret military tribunals, which violate the Geneva Contentions, have been used to avoid open court.

BBC News has a good analysis of the differences between military tribunals and open court:
* Convictions in civilian courts must be unanimous, while the military tribunals proposed by Mr Bush would be able to convict by a two-thirds majority

* Different rules of evidence apply, with lower standards for admission in military tribunals

* Defendants are not guaranteed the right to appeal against convictions in military tribunals

* Civilian trials must be open to the public, while military tribunals can be held in secret.


The ruling does not effectively shut Guantanamo down, however. The Bush administration can look at alternate ways to try the detainees, some who have been detained without trial for more than four years.

Source: BBC News

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