Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


In early 2002, the United States began transporting prisoners captured in Afghanistan to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Almost immediately, an uproar broke out over the detention of prisoners there. The United States was, and continues to be, almost universally criticized by the international community for its handling of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The most common criticisms are of the detention of accused terrorists without charges and the indefinite detention of non-citizens certified as dangers to national security as authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act. Although all of the issues regarding the detention of prisoners in the War on Terrorism are interesting and significant to the legal community, this paper will be limited in scope to the planned use of military commissions to try accused terrorists. The military commissions, developed in accordance with the Military Order of November 13, 2001, comport fully with both international and American law and provide the best method to meet the security needs of the United States while prosecuting those who commit or plan to commit terrorist acts against this country.