US District Judge James Robertson says trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees are unlawful

The special trials established to determine the guilt or innocence of prisoners at the U.S. military prison in Cuba are unlawful and cannot continue in their current form, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

In a setback for the Bush administration, U.S. District Judge James Robertson found that detainees at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions and therefore entitled to the protections of international and military law -- which the government has declined to grant them.

WASHINGTON — The first military commission trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was halted Monday after a federal judge here ruled the proceedings invalid under U.S. and international law — dealing a blow to the legal process set up by the Bush administration to handle accused terrorists.

This ruling should put the final nail into the coffin of the military commissions. They should never have been created in the first place, and their implementation has been a disaster.

Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. program of Human Rights Watch
The case against Salim Ahmed Hamdan was suspended after U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that the Yemeni man had been denied due process.

The ruling affects all of the nearly 500 detainees from Afghanistan at Guantanamo.