The Department of Defense announced today that Guantanamo detainees Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul of Yemen and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan have been charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes and will be tried by military commission.
Al Bahlul is alleged to be a key al Qaeda propagandist who produced videos glorifying the murder of Americans to recruit, inspire, and motivate other al Qaeda members to continue attacks against Americans, the United States, and other countries, as well as serving as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. Al Qosi is alleged to be a key al Qaeda accountant, bin Laden bodyguard and weapons smuggler. He is alleged to be a long-time assistant and associate of bin Laden, dating back to the time when bin Laden lived in Sudan.
Al Bahlul and al Qosi are charged with willfully and knowingly joining an enterprise of persons who shared a common criminal purpose and conspired with Osama bin Laden and others to commit the following offenses: attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; murder by an unprivileged belligerent; destruction of property by an unprivileged belligerent; and terrorism. Specifics of each individuals charges are available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2004/d20040224Al Qosi.pdf and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2004/d20040224Al Bahlul.pdf.
Al Bahlul and al Qosi are presumed innocent of any criminal charges unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a military commission. Trial dates and commission panel members will be selected at a later time.
Military commission procedures include: the presumption of innocence; a requirement for proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; representation by a military defense counsel free of charge with the option to retain a civilian defense counsel at no expense to the U.S. government; an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses; and a prohibition against drawing an adverse inference if an Accused chooses not to testify. Military commissions have historically been used to try violations of the law of armed conflict and related offenses.