Posted by: Tony Carson | 14 November, 2009

Kadr and his kangaroo court

Justice in the US for the ‘terrorists’ is in the eye of the beholder.

‘ULTIMATE JUSTICE IN NEW YORK’ blares the Huffington Post headline.

OMAR KHADR HEADING FOR A KANGAROO COURT, cries the Toronto Star.

Perhaps, by necessity, there will be many differing takes around the world on what the terrorist trials will mean.

In the US there is concern that in dispensing justice they may be giving the alleged terrorists a soapbox from which to spew their venom.

Or maybe the process will unearth draconian measures used by the US to interrogate the accused, a possible violation of human rights.

But the US isn’t sure, so it is taking two paths to its justice: the one through ‘open’ court, the other through military commissions.

That’s where Khadr’s kangaroo court comes in. From the Toronto Star article:

Washington knows that 9/11 ringleaders like Mohammed will be happy to publicly acknowledge their crimes, thus making their convictions a near certainty.

But Khadr is not angling for martyrdom. And in a real court of law, the case against him would almost certainly fail.

First there is his age. Fifteen at the time of his capture, he would be considered a child soldier under United Nations conventions (military commissions are specifically entitled to disregard this).

Second, as my colleague Michelle Shephard writes in her book, Guantanamo’s Child, Khadr ā€“ seriously wounded in the Afghan firefight ā€“ was in such bad shape during questioning that even his U.S. interrogator feared he might die.

In civilian court, statements obtained under such circumstances would be dismissed as coerced.

Thus the reason for the hidden military tribunal and not an open court.
The fact that the US has until now circumventing the law by suspending habeas corpus by spiriting away its prisoners to a foreign country (if the land stolen from Cuba can be described as a foreign country) doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that real justice will be done.
I don’t know if Kadr is guilty or not and I doubt this process is going to answer the question.
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