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Public Statements

Press Release - DeFazio Joins Military Leaders And Legal Experts In Opposing Military Commissions Bill

Location: Washington, DC

DeFazio Joins Military Leaders And Legal Experts In Opposing Military Commissions Bill

September 27, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio voted today against a bill that would create an unfair and possibly unconstitutional trial system for foreign military detainees and is vague as to whether or not the U.S. will abide by the Geneva Conventions. The bill passed the House today.

"I support establishing military tribunals to try foreign terrorists held by the United States," DeFazio said. "But a variety of military leaders and legal experts have raised serious concerns about the constitutionality and wisdom of the specific legislation considered today. We must uphold American values and respect for the rule of law. Doing so is essential to protecting our own military, intelligence and civilian personnel stationed overseas. And it is essential for winning the war on terror against al-Qaeda and the war of ideas in the Muslim world. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct than our enemies hold themselves. Unfortunately, while this bill contains the beginnings of a reasonable military tribunal process, it ultimately falls short."

One of the primary reasons DeFazio voted against the bill is because it does not create a sustainable system to expedite the trials of terrorists held by the U.S. Congress considered today's legislation only after the Supreme Court threw out the original military tribunal process set up by the Bush administration. However, there are significant constitutional and legal questions with the current legislation, which means it will certainly be subject to additional legal wrangling and court rulings, including consideration by the Supreme Court. That means further delays in prosecuting terrorists. Further, any prosecutions undertaken as a result of this bill could be thrown out later if courts find the tribunal process set up by this legislation to have constitutional or other legal flaws. That could lead to terrorists being set free and would force the U.S. back to where it started, without a working military commission system.



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