WASHINGTON – Legislation drafted by the Bush administration to allow the Pentagon to prosecute terror suspects would toss out rights common in civilian and military courts, according to a copy of the bill.
The draft measure was posted to a Web blog by a Georgetown law professor. The legislation would eliminate common rights such as barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence.
The bill cites legislation passed last year in Congress that prohibits the use of cruel, inhuman or inhumane treatment. According to the draft legislation that would establish military commissions to prosecute terrorists, this ban on abusive treatment would "fully satisfy" the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions.
The legislation is marked "for discussion purposes only" and "deliberative draft—close hold." It was posted to http://balkin.blogspot.com/.
A copy of a Bush administration proposal was first reported Tuesday by The New York Times. The document had been circulated among senior officials at the Justice and Defense departments. Senior Republican lawmakers have said they were briefed on the general discussions and have some concerns but are awaiting a final proposal.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England are expected to discuss the proposal in a hearing next week before the Senate Armed Services Committee.