Friday, July 27, 2007

Australians All - David Hicks v the United States

Click here to read the summary of the Report of the Independent Observer on the David Hicks case for the Law Council of Australia. Victorian barrister Lex Lasry was appointed Queens Counsel in 1990. In the decade that followed, he was engaged in a number of significant criminal cases, including matters involving murder, manslaughter, tax and welfare fraud and drug trafficking. He has been the chairman of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association since 2002 and is a member of the Council of the International Criminal Bar for counsel practising before the International Criminal Court.

Lasry concludes:

"Ultimately, there has been no benefit from this process; only a corrosion of the rule of law.

No ground can be claimed to have been made in the so-called War on Terror. The Military Commission process at Guantanamo likewise has neither gained from it, nor shown any prospect of improvement.

Predictably, there has been no response from the Australian Government to the consistent and widespread criticism of the Military Commissions and Guantanamo Bay generally. Their support for this process has been shameful.

They have never put an argument to the Australian public as to why the Military Commission process is “full and fair”. Now that the Hicks case is over, no doubt the hope is that the issue will disappear – and, regrettably, perhaps it will.

However, Australia’s international standing and moral authority has been diminished by its support of a process so obviously at odds with the rule of law. Those with a concern for the protection of due process should be very concerned about the future of this process, particularly given its jurisdiction to impose death penalties."

Surya Deva, Lecturer at School of Law, City University of Hong Kong, has an interesting article in On Line Opinion.

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