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U.N. Reviews Military Tribunals

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Military tribunals, convened outside the civilian justice system, need to conform to basic standards for due process, a U.N. rights official said from Geneva.

Gabriela Knaul, U.N. special envoy on judicial independence, said U.N. member states need to enact tighter principles to govern military tribunals.

“Irrespective of their military status, these tribunals must be an integral part of the general judicial system,” she said in a statement Monday. “It is also essential to ensure that military tribunals are compatible with human rights standards, including the respect of the right to a fair trial and due process guarantees.”

Amnesty International in June said a military tribunal in Indonesia was being used to shield human rights violators from the rule of law. The rights group said a trial for 12 soldiers accused of the extrajudicial execution of four detainees was a sham.

Human Rights Watch, in a separate statement, said it’s “convinced” the use of military commissions to try suspected terrorists at the U.S. Navy’s detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a serious error. It said the justice system there is “substandard.”

Knaul did not single out any particular system in her statements. She served as a Brazilian judge before starting service with the United Nations in 2009.

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