Friday, June 3, 2011

ACCA weighing military trials for civilians in Ali

The Associated Press filed an interesting article on the Ali case currently at ACCA.  NIMJ's Eugene Fidell, Geoff Corn, and Vic Hansen are all quoted in the article.  ACCA is weighing a question that hasn't cropped up in decades: whether a civilian contractor working for the U.S. military can be tried in a military court. Ali, an Iraqi-Canadian and a former Army translator in Iraq, is challenging his courts-martial arguing that they only have authority over members of the armed forces. The article points out that the case "also runs up against complaints that using U.S. civilian courts to prosecute contractors working with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq has been largely ineffective, and trying them in local courts often has not been possible." Ali was convicted under rules issued after Congress amended the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 2006 to allow courts-martial of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.