Lexington, VA • Friday, October 20, 2006
Washington and Lee University School of Law Professor Mark Drumbl spoke at a symposium on Friday, October 20th, at the George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. on the new 2006 Military Commissions Act. The Act, just signed by President Bush, was in response to the June 2006 judgment of the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that struck down the previous system of military commissions.
Drumbl is Professor of Law and Ethan Allen Faculty Fellow. He is also the director of W&L's Transnational Law Institute.
The symposium was televised on CSPAN and also live on CSPAN radio. The Supreme Court ruled that Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions did, in fact, apply to the conflict against al-Qaeda, and that the preexisting system of commissions lacked the due process of a regularly constituted court as required to prosecute war criminals under the Conventions. So, the question is whether the new commissions meet this standard.
The symposium was held at the George Washington University Law School, in Washington D.C. and featured as speakers the legal advisor to the Secretary of State, judges that had presided over terrorism trials in ordinary courts, prosecutors and defense counsel from Guantanamo, the lawyers who argued the Hamdan case, and a number of law professors.
Drumbl presented an argument in favor of the Supreme Court's approach in Hamdan and in favor of open, accessible, and procedurally fair military commission process in order to stigmatize and condemn convicted terrorists to a global audience.