ABA Outlines Continued Problems with Military Commission Provisions

Numerous Shortcomings Remain in S. 1390 Regarding Evidence and Defense Resources

WASHINGTON, DC, July 22, 2009 – Despite some improvements, the _ says the latest proposals for military commissions still fail in several key areas.

In a letter sent July 20 to all senators regarding the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, the ABA noted that “the proposed revisions embodied within the NDAA fail to address a number of significant concerns, including those related to the use of coerced evidence, the admission of hearsay evidence and the resource constraints under which counsel must operate.”

Further, the ABA stressed that the office of the Chief Defense Counsel is “seriously understaffed” and that this, combined with many other factors, means that there “remains a serious and unfair imbalance compared to prosecution resources.”

A full copy of the letter, signed by ABA Governmental Affairs Office Director Thomas M. Susman is posted at www.abanet.org/poladv/letters/antiterror/2009july20_ndaas_l.pdf.

Additional background or interviews are available upon request.

With more than 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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