DarianBundesenEnglish0213rdDecember 2017 Terrorism in court systems Terrorism is an unfortunate part ofour lives today in the twenty-first century, and the joint efforts toextinguish expanding terrorist organizations has greatly increased over thepast several decades. The decision to handle terrorism is ultimately up to theone who is affected by it the most. Terrorism is something that should behandled in a military court, not civilian. “On November13th, 2001, President George W.
Bush issued a military order, providingfor the trial by military commission of persons (not including citizens of theUnited States) who have committed or aided and assisted in terrorist crimes,including but not limited to Al-Qaeda members.” This was done to have a secondoption when it comes to dealing with terrorists, because although most caseshave been in civil courts, there may come a time when a military commissionwould be the only viable option, whether it be for security reasons or even thebasis of what is actually being tried. On September 11th, 2001,the World Trade Center was hit by an airplane carrying innocent people, carriedout by Al-Qaeda insurgents. “Why?”, someone might ask. Simply because there arepeople in this world who want to instill fear into the population of a countryand break them apart. It does not sound like a very safe idea to bring a personwho has no problem with killing as many innocent people as they can into thesame court room that is shared by the criminals that are actually a part of oursociety. Those criminals have rights as American citizens.
Terrorists of coursedo not, unless they are a domestic terrorist. Of course, a civilian court mayhave the legitimacy and experience you will not find in a military court, butif someone with intelligence to successfully carry out an attack harming humanbeings, or even illegally get themselves into the United States, they do notbelong in the same vicinity as United States citizens. On January 7th,2015, the Prime Minister of Pakistan had the idea that putting terrorism intomilitary courts would solve the entire problem of terrorism. This led to theconstitutional amendment allowing this to be done (Kine, 2015). Although military courts handleproblems that one would assume is “military” related, terrorism can be act ofwar, which is why it is a difficult decision to make when it comes down to whatsystem should handle the case. Handlingterror suspects in the civil court system is a standard legal procedure, withnothing out of the ordinary about it, especially when it comes to dealing withthose terrorists captured in the United States (Romero, 2010).
Whenit comes down to it, there is always the question of security; are the jurorsand judges that are being directly exposed to the unknown risks in the idea of retaliationby terrorist organizations in response to the conviction and sentencing oftheir fellow terrorists? (Vagts, 2003). “The ferocity of Al-Qaeda’s actionslends credibility to such fears. In a small number of cases we have experiencedviolence of strictly domestic origins against judges, jurors and witnesses.”(Vagts, 2003). Civilian courts also have the possibility of struggling withcertain problems sourcing directly from the way in which the accused werehandled before any sort of arraignment. Usually, the United States Constitutionis read as “requiring that the accused have a judicial hearing within 48 hoursof arrest.
Federal law, however, calls for indictment within 30 days of arrest.Case law does, however, give some latitude for special circumstances, and thecircumstances under which terrorists were arrested in foreign countries and incombat conditions would surely justify substantial delays in bringing thembefore a judge.” (Vagts, 2003). There isalso the concern that any convictions made by the court could have been heavilyinfluenced by statements made by the defendant, who could have already beenheavily interrogated. It is likely that these interrogations were not takenplace in accordance with any sort of laws under the constitution.
Military commissionshave been used throughout history in the attempt to try spies and saboteurs. Inthe face of war, they have provided justice on the battlefield when there wasno other logical form available. In a sense, it is safe to say that military commissionstake a better look at evidence and provide more fair convictions. For example, there is Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda members thatare captured or surrender under such circumstances can be tried by militarytribunals if they are deemed “unlawful combatants” under the 1949Geneva Convention. The convention regarding these prisoners of war defines “unlawfulcombatants as participants in an armed conflict who abuse their civilian statusto gain military advantage: those who do not carry arms openly and do not carrya “fixed distinctive sign” such as a uniform or other insignia that wouldidentify them as soldiers.” (Slaughter, 2002).
Terrorists appear to fall intothis category almost by definition, as their mission depends on the concealmentof their identity before any attack is made.