Department of Defense Rules for Military Commissions: Analysis of Procedural Rules and Comparison with Proposed Legislation and the Uniform Code of Military Justice [Updated January 18, 2005]   [open pdf - 169KB]

"Military commissions began in November, 2004, against four persons declared eligible for trial pursuant to President Bush's Military Order (M.O.) of November 13, 2001, pertaining to the detention, treatment, and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism, but proceedings have been suspended after a federal district court found one of the defendants could not be tried under the rules established by the Department of Defense. The government has appealed the case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, to the D.C. Circuit on an expedited basis, while the petitioners seek to take the matter directly to the Supreme Court. This report provides a background and analysis comparing military commissions as envisioned under M.C.O. No. 1 to general military courts-martial conducted under the UCMJ. The report notes some of the criticism directed at the President's M.O., and explains how those concerns are addressed by the military commission orders and instructions. The report provides two charts to compare the regulations issued by the Department of Defense and standard procedures for general courts-martial under the Manual for Courts-Martial. The second chart, which compares procedural safeguards incorporated in the regulations with established procedures in courts-martial, follows the same order and format used in CRS Report RL31262, Selected Procedural Safeguards in Federal, Military, and International Courts, in order to facilitate comparison with safeguards provided in federal court and the International Criminal Court."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31600
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