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Military tribunals and fair trial rights - a study of the Guantanamo Commission

Edling, Axel LU (2020) LAGF03 20201
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The right to a fair trial is a vital component of the rule of law, but with the change in global conflicts, and particularly the rise of global terrorism, it has been presented with new challenges. Soldiers’ immunity for certain, normally illegal, actions has been established as a principle of international law since the adaptation of the Geneva Conventions. However, new conflicts, and especially the War on Terror, are not always fought by privileged combatants. Still, our worst enemies have the right to a fair trial.
This thesis establishes the existence of a right to a fair trial in international statutory as well as customary law, including for non-privileged combatants, and examines the compatibility of military tribunals with it. To... (More)
The right to a fair trial is a vital component of the rule of law, but with the change in global conflicts, and particularly the rise of global terrorism, it has been presented with new challenges. Soldiers’ immunity for certain, normally illegal, actions has been established as a principle of international law since the adaptation of the Geneva Conventions. However, new conflicts, and especially the War on Terror, are not always fought by privileged combatants. Still, our worst enemies have the right to a fair trial.
This thesis establishes the existence of a right to a fair trial in international statutory as well as customary law, including for non-privileged combatants, and examines the compatibility of military tribunals with it. To do this, the Guantanamo Commission is used as a case study and analyzed with special emphasis on three crucial aspects; competence, independence and impartiality.
Space is given to scholarly works as well as legal reports, debate entries and jurisprudence, and several issues with the use of military courts are identified. This leads to the conclusion that, while the use of military courts is not outright prohibited, their use is problematic enough to be unadvisable. With this, as well as legal developments, in mind, it appears likely that the use of military courts to try civilian suspects will remain controversial and under heavy scrutiny, and that this might eventually lead to the discontinuing of this use altogether. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Rätten till en rättvis rättegång är en nödvändighet i en modern rättsstat, men i och med de nya globala konflikternas förändrade natur har den stött på nya utmaningar. Soldaters immunitet för vissa handlingar i krigstid är väletablerad sedan Genèvekonventionernas tillkomst, men de nya konflikternas aktörer uppfyller sällan kraven för sådan immunitet. Särskilt kriget mot den globala terrorismen har utmanat systemet då terrorister inte uppfyller immunitetskraven. Samtidigt förtjänar även våra värsta fiender en rättvis rättegång.
Denna uppsats undersöker och fastställer rätten till en rättvis rättegångs ställning i den internationella rätten i såväl konventions- som sedvanerätten, och dess omfattande av icke-priviligierade kombattanter.... (More)
Rätten till en rättvis rättegång är en nödvändighet i en modern rättsstat, men i och med de nya globala konflikternas förändrade natur har den stött på nya utmaningar. Soldaters immunitet för vissa handlingar i krigstid är väletablerad sedan Genèvekonventionernas tillkomst, men de nya konflikternas aktörer uppfyller sällan kraven för sådan immunitet. Särskilt kriget mot den globala terrorismen har utmanat systemet då terrorister inte uppfyller immunitetskraven. Samtidigt förtjänar även våra värsta fiender en rättvis rättegång.
Denna uppsats undersöker och fastställer rätten till en rättvis rättegångs ställning i den internationella rätten i såväl konventions- som sedvanerätten, och dess omfattande av icke-priviligierade kombattanter. Därefter diskuteras huruvida den kan tillfredsställas i militära domstolar. För detta genomförs en fallstudie av Guantanamokommissionen med särskilt fokus på tre centrala element; domstolens kompetens, oberoende och opartiskhet.
Utrymme ges till såväl akademisk litteratur som juridiska rapporter, debattinlägg och domstolspraxis. Analysen visar på ett flertal problem, vilka sammantaget leder till slutsatsen att användningen av militärdomstolar, trots att den inte är lagstridig i sig, är så pass problematisk att den bör undvikas. I ljuset av detta, såväl som den rättsliga utvecklingen, är det sannolikt att användandet av militära domstolar för mål mor civila kommer att vara fortsatt kontroversiellt till den grad att det de facto kan komma att upphöra. (Less)
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author
Edling, Axel LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20201
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
public international law, fair trial, military courts, Guantanamo Commission, terrorism, non-privileged combatants
language
English
id
9010725
date added to LUP
2020-09-17 20:39:02
date last changed
2020-09-17 20:39:02
@misc{9010725,
  abstract     = {The right to a fair trial is a vital component of the rule of law, but with the change in global conflicts, and particularly the rise of global terrorism, it has been presented with new challenges. Soldiers’ immunity for certain, normally illegal, actions has been established as a principle of international law since the adaptation of the Geneva Conventions. However, new conflicts, and especially the War on Terror, are not always fought by privileged combatants. Still, our worst enemies have the right to a fair trial.
This thesis establishes the existence of a right to a fair trial in international statutory as well as customary law, including for non-privileged combatants, and examines the compatibility of military tribunals with it. To do this, the Guantanamo Commission is used as a case study and analyzed with special emphasis on three crucial aspects; competence, independence and impartiality.
Space is given to scholarly works as well as legal reports, debate entries and jurisprudence, and several issues with the use of military courts are identified. This leads to the conclusion that, while the use of military courts is not outright prohibited, their use is problematic enough to be unadvisable. With this, as well as legal developments, in mind, it appears likely that the use of military courts to try civilian suspects will remain controversial and under heavy scrutiny, and that this might eventually lead to the discontinuing of this use altogether.},
  author       = {Edling, Axel},
  keyword      = {public international law,fair trial,military courts,Guantanamo Commission,terrorism,non-privileged combatants},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Military tribunals and fair trial rights - a study of the Guantanamo Commission},
  year         = {2020},
}