The Department of Defense announced today that Australian detainee David Hicks has been assigned a military defense counsel. Although he has not been charged, Hicks is one of six detainees President Bush determined to be subject to his Military Order of November 13, 2001. Military commission rules require that a Detailed Defense Counsel be available to an Accused sufficiently in advance of trial to prepare a defense.
During his initial discussion with Hicks, the Detailed Defense Counsel, United States Marine Corps Maj. Michael Mori, will inform him of his choices to retain a civilian defense counsel and an appropriately cleared Australian attorney consultant. He will also discuss military commission procedures including: the presumption of innocence; a requirement for proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses; and a prohibition against drawing an adverse inference from remaining silent. Mori will travel to Guantanamo Bay to meet with Hicks in the near future.
The Appointing Authority, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has not yet made the decision to approve charges and refer Hicks’ case to trial. Since no charges have been approved, no trial date has been set. Hicks is presumed innocent of any criminal charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a military commission. Military commissions have historically been used to try violations of the law of armed conflict and related offenses.