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Part III Thematic Chapters, C Accountability, 13 War crimes trials at Guantánamo Bay: key developments in 2014

Dru A. Brenner-Beck

From: The War Report: Armed Conflict in 2014

Edited By: Annyssa Bellal

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 February 2023

Right to fair trial — Military assistance — Armed conflict, international — Armed conflict, non-international — Humanitarian intervention — Armed forces

This chapter looks at the war crime trials at Guantánamo Bay during 2014. Although the military commissions were proceeding slowly but steadily as would be expected of a judicial system in which little binding precedent exists, stagnation is the word that best describes the Guantánamo military commissions in 2014. Continuing legal uncertainty regarding the permissible jurisdiction of military commissions plus continuing interferences with the military commissions by outside entities resulted in significant delays as the commissions grappled with the legal questions raised, halting the consideration of some or all of the pending pre-trial motions in both cases until these critical issues could be resolved. The chapter concludes by suggesting that trial by military commission was controversial at inception. It argues that also perhaps the government is trapped within its own self-inflicted morass; perhaps these tribunals will begin to gain momentum and move towards just outcomes; or perhaps they will be abandoned in favor of Article III trials. These are all important questions related to legitimacy, efficiency, and the evolution of the laws and customs of war. But ultimately, the chapter states, the individuals responsible for these alleged wartime atrocities and acts of terror must be held to account for their conduct.

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