Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Australians All - Hicks saga far from over

Australians All have posted articles by Hilary Charlesworth, Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice at the ANU, and Malcolm Fraser on how politics has overidden the rule of law.

An excerpt of the Charlesworth article follows:

"With the imminent return of David Hicks to a South Australian prison and his release by the new year, we have a resolution of sorts to a divisive national issue. From a legal perspective, the outcome is both mysterious and unsatisfactory from all angles. The plea bargain, providing a 9-month term in an Australian prison, could not satisfy the Australian or US governments, who have insisted for the last five years that Hicks was ‘the worst of the worst’. The curious conditions attached to the sentence are both manifestly political and unenforceable in Australian courts. Hicks’ certification that he was not treated illegally by the US is directly contradicted by his affidavit in citizenship proceedings before the UK courts, which sets out evidence of torture by US officials. The outcome of the Hicks’ plea bargain also cannot satisfy those who have called for a fair and open trial...

...Members of the Australian government who have supported David Hicks’ prosecution under the flawed Military Commissions Act appear to have breached the Australian Criminal Code. The Code defines a war crime to include depriving a person engaged in armed conflict of the rights of a “fair and regular trial”, or aiding, abetting or counselling such a deprivation."

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