Sep 08 2006

Graham Reaction to Testimony from our Nation’s Military Leaders before the House Armed Services Committee

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on testimony before the House Armed Services Committee made by generals and admirals from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The military leaders were testifying about the structure and procedure of tribunals to try terror suspects. “The concerns expressed by the generals and admirals about how we should conduct the trials of terrorists are very serious. I hope Members of Congress will agree.” ##### Statements from Military Leaders before the House Armed Services Committee September 7, 2006 Brigadier General James C. Walker, U.S. Marine Corps, Staff Judge Advocate * “I am not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him. And I don't think that the United States needs to become the first in that scenario.” * “I personally remain concerned about any process which would permit the introduction of evidence against an accused outside of his presence. I simply believe the right to see the evidence against you and to be present when evidence is presented are fundamental to a full and fair trial and are also part of those judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people.” * “…..I concur with my colleagues that if we get to a point where the sole evidence against an accused is classified, he must be able to see that evidence. That's just essentially one of those elements of a full and fair trial.” * “We must maintain our nation's ability to deal with terrorists and with unlawful enemy combatants, but at the same time we must also provide those judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people.” * “While we seek that balance, we also must remember the concept of reciprocity: What we do and how we treat these individuals can, in the future, have a direct impact on our service men and women overseas.” Major General Scott Black, United States Army, Judge Advocate General * “I can't imagine any military judge believing that an accused has had a full and fair hearing if all the government's evidence that was introduced was all classified and the accused was not able to see any of it.” * “The Hamdan decision has reinforced our need to ensure military commissions are reflective of American values such as due process and the rule of law.” * “Our task has been to balance the utility of the military commissions with these values that are foundational to our democratic society.” * “I am concerned, one, that the package does not contain a provision that would prohibit the admission of evidence outside of the presence of the accused when that evidence is the sole evidence admitted to establish a material fact, if you follow. If it's the only piece of evidence that's necessary to convict, then I remain concerned about excluding the accused.” Major General Charles Dunlap, United States Air Force, Deputy Judge Advocate General * “A process fully compliant with Common Article 3 will enhance our standing internationally and empower our allies to embrace the legal reasoning and architecture behind the prosecution of military commission cases. Doing so is plainly in our war fighting interest.” * “But my bottom line, my personal opinion, sir, is that we cannot have a process whereby the finder of fact -- not the judge deciding, but the finder of fact -- gets evidence that the accused never sees and never has the opportunity to defend against…” Rear Admiral Bruce MacDonald, United State Navy, Judge Advocate General * “…there are some issues, particularly the use of classified evidence, where I would stand by the approach to that taken by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” * “With respect to coerced statements, it would be my position that I would recommend that the committee look at not allowing coerced statements; that statements that are obtained under torture are excluded under the current commission rules. However, statements obtained through coercion, if they meet a reliability and probative test, are admitted. * “I would recommend that the committee look to the Detainee Treatment Act and the cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment standard and apply that standard as well to statements that may or may not be coerced. And I would leave that determination to the military judge in charge of the commission to balance those competing interests.”