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Release No: 151-07
February 07, 2007

Seasoned Judge Tapped to Head Detainee Trials

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has designated an experienced former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Judge, Susan J. Crawford, to the position of convening authority for military commissions. A veteran lawyer of 30 years, Crawford served as a member of the court of appeals bench from 1991-2006 and also served as general counsel of the Army, special counsel to the secretary of defense, and inspector general of the Department of Defense.

    Crawford has agreed to accept the appointment and expects to take office immediately. A noted expert on military law, the depth and breadth of her experiences as a lawyer and judge over three decades was taken into consideration for this appointment.

    The position of convening authority was created by Congress in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The convening authority is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the military commission process and for supervising the Office of Military Commissions. Among other things, the convening authority reviews and approves charges against persons determined to be alien unlawful enemy combatants, as defined in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, appoints military commissions members, and reviews military commissions’ verdicts and sentences.

    Her biography is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/d20070207crawford.pdf.

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