The Office of Military Commissions Appointing Authority, John D. Altenburg Jr,. has granted three of the five defense counsel challenges to military commission panel members, retaining three commission members, including Col. Peter E. Brownback as the presiding officer.
The decision means that military commission proceedings in U.S. vs. Hicks and U.S. vs. Hamdan scheduled for Nov 1, 2004, will proceed as scheduled. The commission procedures require three panel members as a minimum to hear a case. No additional panel members or alternate members will be appointed to hear these cases.
During commission proceedings Aug 25-26, the defense counsel for Hicks and Hamdan challenged the fitness of three of the four commission members, the alternate member, and Brownback to hear their cases currently before the panel. The three panel members who were excused will resume their assigned duties and will not participate in any future military commission proceedings.
In his written decision, Altenburg thanked the panel members saying, The country is grateful for the professional, dedicated and selfless service of these exceptional officers in this sensitive and important matter.
Altenburg will select additional panel members to hear the cases of U.S. vs. al Qosi and U.S. vs. al Bahlul. Hearing dates in those cases have not been set.
Altenburgs ruling can be found at:
For more information about this decision, contact the Office of Military Commissions spokesman at (703) 602-1924.