Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has decided to designate four individuals to serve as review panel members for military commissions. Additionally, the General Counsel of the Department of Defense William J. Haynes II issued Military Commission Instruction (MCI) No. 9, Review of Military Commission Proceedings.
The members to be designated are:
· Griffin B. Bell, former U.S. attorney general and former U.S. circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
· Edward G. Biester, judge, Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pa., Seventh Judicial District; former Pennsylvania attorney general; and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
· William T. Coleman, Jr., former secretary of transportation
· Frank Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
The four will be commissioned as Army major generals for an approximate two-year term while serving intermittently in this role.
Review panel members are responsible for reviewing military commission proceedings. The review panel may consider written and oral arguments by the defense, the prosecution, and the government of the nation of which the accused is a citizen. If the review panel finds that a material error of law occurred, the review panel will return the case for further proceedings, including dismissal of charges. The review panel may also make recommendations to the secretary of defense with respect to the disposition of the case before it, including sentencing matters. Except as necessary to safeguard protected information, written opinions of the review panel will be published.
Additional review panel members may be designated in the future. Review panel members will select from among themselves the three members who will serve on a specific case. The three members of each review panel may select, at their discretion, one member to act as the president of that review panel.
MCI No. 9 prescribes procedures and establishes responsibilities for the review of military commission proceedings to provide for an independent review similar to the role of an appellate court in the civilian court system. Among other things, MCI No. 9 requires review panel members to perform their duties impartially, creates a single term of service for review panel members and protects review panel members against undue influence.
MCI No. 9 and biographical information on the review panel designates can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/commissions.html