U.S. Defense Department Issues Order on Military Commissions

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Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On March 21, 2002, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, issued Military Commission Order No.1 concern the military commission. The Order explains that its purpose is to implement policy, assign responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for trials before military commissions of individuals subject to the President’s Military Order of November 13, 2001. A military commission is a war-time, military tribunal traditionally used to try violations of the laws of order. The Military Order provides that the person who may be tried by military commission may include: member of al Qaeda; people involved in acts of international terrorism against the U.S.; and people who knowingly harbored such terrorists. The Order provides that Commissions will consist of at least 3 but no more than 7 members with one or two alternates. Commission members are officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, including reserve personnel, National Guard member, and retired personnel recalled active duty.