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Rights-US: Decision on 9/11 Trials Sparks Praise, Anger

Publication Date: 
November 15, 2009
Global Issues - Inter Press Service
William Fisher

Lecturer Chip Pitts is quoted in this article on the debate over holding the 9/11 trials in a federal court as opposed to a military commission:

The U.S. government's decision to bring five high-profile terror suspects to the United States to face trials in a civilian court has drawn reactions ranging from praise to condemnation to confusion.

While human rights advocates are generally applauding the decision to conduct trials in federal court in New York, they are at the same time strongly criticising the Justice Department for keeping the military commissions in place to try some suspects.


Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and a lecturer at Stanford University Law School, told IPS, 'Continuing to rely on military commissions to try those otherwise unable to be convicted on strained and novel 'war crimes' charges [that don't meet the usual definitions of war crimes], by contrast, proceeds from the politically popular but legally inappropriate and counterproductive 'endless global war on terror' mindset that has clearly been so destructive to actual national security.'

'The fraudulent nature of the latter process is evident in the unwillingness of the new administration, like the [George W.] Bush administration, to say that it will release those acquitted or whose danger remains suspected but unproven,' he said.