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DOS Cable re: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Guidance on Military Commission

July 17, 2003 | DOS | ACLU-RDI 4400
State Department cable with talking points in response to statements and/or on the rules relating to military judicial commissions and the rule of law in the U.S. at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It is pointed out that Military Commissions are well rooted in American Jurisprudence. Military Commissions were used in the Revolutionary War, the Mexican-American War, the U.S. Civil War and World War II. The talking points further point out that the Geneva Convention specifically contemplates Military Commissions when it states that "Prisoners of War shall be tried only by a military court". And the final points to make are: i) The Military Commissions will be impartial; ii) there is a presumption of innocence of the accused iii) a death penalty decision can only be imposed by a unanimous decision of the panel members; iv) the accused are not required to testify, and no adverse inference may be drawn from a refusal to testify; v) the proceedings will be open to the public to the maximum extent possible; vi) the accused my present witnesses and evidence, and cross-examine witnesses and challenge evidence presented against him; vii) the accused will be represented by counsel; and viii) the prosecutor will provide the accused of evidence intended to be presented at trial and exculpatory evidence.