Department of Defense announces creation of manual outlining rules for military commissions dealing with Guantanamo Bay detainees

The Defense Department today presented to Congress its manual outlining rules for military commissions as they will be conducted under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The manual includes some major departures from past military commissions proceedings, such as affording detainees the right to self representation and directing that no classified information be presented in court without the detainees’ presence.

“The overriding considerations reflected in the Manual for Military Commissions are fairness and fidelity to the Military Commissions Act of 2006,” Daniel J. Dell'Orto, principal deputy general counsel for DoD, said at a Pentagon news conference today. “The act and the procedures contained in this manual will ensure that alien unlawful enemy combatants who are suspected of war crimes and certain other offenses are prosecuted before regularly constituted courts affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people.”

Today, the Secretary of Defense is submitting to Congress a comprehensive Manual for the full and fair prosecution of alien unlawful enemy combatants by military commissions, in accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Manual is
made up of four separate sections: The Preamble, The Rules for Military Commissions, the Military Commission Rules of Evidence, and the Crimes and Elements. The Rules for Military Commissions set forth the procedural rules for Military Commissions. The Military Commission Rules of Evidence provide evidentiary rules to govern the admissibility of evidence at trial. The Crimes and Elements section lays out the crimes punishable by Military Commission and the elements of those crimes.