Bringing Our Enemies to Justice

It's important that we set up a tribunal that is fair. No matter how despicable the individual, no matter how heinous the crime committed, it is still the right thing to do to set up a tribunal that is fair. These tribunals will be unique, in that they'll be the first conducted in an atmosphere in which the war is continuing to go on. Previous tribunals have always been conducted after the cessation of hostilities, but with this one we have to accommodate a continuing fight against the bad guys.

The commissions that were set up under this legislation will provide the defendant or the accused with a lawyer and with an opportunity, in most instances, to confront the evidence that is being presented against him. There may be some rare exceptions where classified information will have to be protected. The legislation sets up a due process that hopefully will strike a balance between providing the accused with the right to a fair and full trial while at the same time protecting America from its enemies.

I was concerned about that particular aspect of it but voted for the legislation even with that reservation after receiving assurances from Chairman Duncan Hunter to continue to work on the new system. In addition, there are three levels of appeal that allow the defendant a fair and full trial.

I hope we will finish work on a bill that President Bush can sign so that we can begin the hard work of convicting of crimes that they have committed against the United States and our allies.