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Military Tribunal Rules Still A Work In Progress

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2001 – Final decisions have not yet been made on directives to govern military tribunals for detained Al Qaeda and Taliban members and others held for alleged terrorist acts, DoD spokesperson Victoria Clarke told Pentagon reporters today.

Work on the legal and administrative framework of the tribunals, Clarke said, "is not done. It is very much a work in progress."

Clarke noted that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld would be looking over recommendations for the tribunals over the next few days.

Rumsfeld "has not really dug into what they have drafted, thus far," she said.

On the question of where military tribunals might be held, Clarke noted, "Nothing is decided."

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist actions in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania, President George Bush had declared the creation of military tribunals to provide legal hearings for detained accused terrorists and supporters who are not American citizens.

Clarke remarked that 25 more detainees transferred from Pakistan yesterday joined the 37 Al Qaeda and Taliban members already under U.S. control, for a total of 62 detainees in Kandahar. Eight other detainees, she added, continue to be aboard the USS Peleliu.

More detainees could come under U.S. control in the future, Clarke said.

In Afghanistan, DoD "will continue to work closely with the anti-Taliban forces and the interim government we will also continue to make clear our commitment to achieving our primary objectives: getting and rooting out the Al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership," Clarke emphasized.

No ordnance was dropped in Afghanistan yesterday, Clarke noted, adding that Commando Solo broadcasts and leaflet drops continued.

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