Military Commissions Act of 2009

The Military Commissions Act of 2009, which amended the Military Commissions Act of 2006, was passed to address concerns by the United States Supreme Court.[1] In Boumediene v. Bush (2008) the court had ruled that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was unconstitutional in suspending the right of detainees to habeas corpus. The court ruled that detainees had the right to access US federal courts to challenge their detentions.[2][3]

Formally, the amended act is Title XVIII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub.L. 111–84 (text) (pdf), H.R. 2647, 123 Stat. 2190, enacted October 28, 2009).

On December 3, 2009, Carol Rosenberg, of the Miami Herald, reported on a hearing before Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Paul, the Presiding Officer of the Military Commission for US v. Al Qosi. She wrote that Paul was the first Presiding Officer to address the implications of the new act.[4] Paul ruled that the Prosecution could not use the new act to place additional charges against Sudanese captive Ibrahim al Qosi.

The Department of Defense had released a 281-page set of procedures for conducting military commissions in accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2009 on May 4, 2010. This was one day before the first new hearing in the case of the Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, who had been detained since 2002 at Guantanamo and was the last Western citizen held.[5] On May 24, 2010, Steven Edwards, writing for the Vancouver Sun, reported that the Canwest News Service had recently learned that there was internal controversy within the Obama administration over the new rules for conducting Guantanamo military commissions. According to Edwards, some Obama appointees had tried to get new rules that would have caused the Prosecution to abandon charging Guantanamo captives such as Omar Khadr with murder. Edwards wrote that the change would have triggered dropping charges against a third of the Guantanamo captives whom the Prosecution planned to charge with murder.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jaclyn Belczyk (October 9, 2009). "House passes amendments to Military Commissions Act". The Jurist. Archived from the original on December 4, 2009.
  2. ^ BOUMEDIENE et al. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, et al., Cornell University Law School, retrieved December 23, 2009
  3. ^ BOUMEDIENE et al. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, et al., FindLaw For Legal Professionals, retrieved December 23, 2009
  4. ^ Carol Rosenberg (December 3, 2009). "Guantánamo judge won't expand Sudanese captive's war crimes case". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on December 4, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Steven Edwards (May 24, 2010). "Obama officials pushed, but failed, for new rules in Khadr tribunal". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on May 25, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010. The officials sought to strip a new commissions manual of a law-of-war murder definition that is central to Khadr's prosecution in the mortal wounding of Special Forces Sgt. First Class Chris Speer during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, insiders say. Omission of the segment could have also obliged prosecutors to trim or abandon "up to one-third" of its cases, according to one inside estimate.