DOS Memo re: Fact Sheet on the President's Military Order

This State Department Fact Sheet on the President's establishment of Military Commissions lists talking points on addressing issues and questions that might arise. The points highlight the following: i) The Order applies only to non-U.S. citizens; ii) the offenses that may be tried before these tribunals include violations of armed conflict, sabotage and terrorism; iii) International terrorists are unlawful combatants; iv) The Order directs that the accused will receive a full and fair trial, and persons charged will be entitled to be represented by competent counsel; and v) Conviction and sentencing will require the concurrence of at least two-thirds of the members of the commission.

Non-legal Memo
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Tuesday, June 7, 2005



:' Tho MiHbry Orda-on the "Dokntion. TrcatlIlcnt, end Tris..l of Certain Noo-Citizens in the

II "
War Against Terr1)rism." signed today by the President provides an iniportant option for
dt;aling 'With terrnris~ 'il
t· Ute Order applies only to jlerWnS woo are not citizens ofthe United States. '!
* Undcrthe ilider, tbose indtviduals who thehc.sidcnt deteanitlPS axemcrnbci-s afthe U Qaida .
organization. who engagr:: in, plan. or ~sist tr.:mJrirt acts directed against !:be United States or \1 , its wcre.sts. or who knowiogly harbor ;my sucb persons may be dl:tained by thcSccretruyo:f_ .._ --,--' jD~en.s~. 'The ?r~a fi1rtiu:rprovi~ for.t:ri.als of individuals subject to ~Orderbeforc '.
miliPu'y COUlIIllSS1Qns. " .. _ ­
. . .
• QffalSes that may be tried before these tnommls include violations ofth£ la~s ofannal . !
. conflict.. which itu:ludc: act.~ ofS~1age or terrorism directed against civilian populations. as ~ well a5 harboring those who c:ngBgc. aid. orCOtl3pire to co~t!IUcha.c;ts_ ','
• When the President cktenr-\}1t:$lhHt an itldividual is subj~t to the Order.llewiJ, direct that .. I control cfthat indlvidual be transferred to the: Secrdaxy ofDefunse iftho Seeretary of Defi ' does not already have such control _.
I TIle 1 nmrmr O[D~[~~JMY Bin M~btol OLJ:~J,cJ~ ~~!to L 8Jer as a~tof
US. . italy ~viti~or frQm astate or federal domestic enfarcem.ent agency O~;l foreign.
autlm ty. . ' .
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• Thc~tszyOrda gives tlte Secn:tary ofDefense the pawe:t'ta establish ~commumODs;it approp,riatc tUnes and places., including ~utsidt: the United States:. as well as to prescribe mlcs sud regulatiOIls for fhc conduct ofproceedings before than, within broad principles C1!11ablisbed by the President. I
-fwta ry ,omnrl.,;mu will'd~a;clY;,...,." the ~ghb or~e.,.,..ed. .
.. ' ti:rrorist.s are nnlawful belligl:teIJts. who engage in aCTS ofvioleocc and annal. 'Fwilhout authorization trom • ",vrcigo nation. _ ...bearing """" openly. and., Ill4ntle.1' caku1arcd to infuct dclibcralf harm on civilian popUlations. .As such.·t!lese : . r -s arc not entitled to the legal pI:Otectious afforded United States citizellS. . .
.. 1fe'President's ~nonetheless requjres lnnna:oe treatment ofall those to whom thc.Onl::.r applies in a. mannc:r consi5t:n.t with Anterican values. .. ~. I· I .
• !}le Otd::rprovides for thl: Seactary ofDefi:IJse to treal: individuals without lUlyadva'so distinction based an tace, c.:lloi, religion. geru1cr, wealth, at any Wnilar criteria..

DATE/CASE 10: 07 APR 2005 200303827


t.a".---..,. .,...... ..~,.~
• Individuals suPject to the Order will be provided with food, shelter. clothing and medical.
treatment. '.. ,

They will be: pcnnittcd to m:ely their religion, consistent with $c requiranc:ots of their detention. ' '

The Order din:cts that the acc1Ucd ..vill receive a full and fair trial, and persons charged ~ be entitled to be rcpre;;entai by compcrcnI c;;ounsel.

Conviction and sCXltcnC.i.n,g will ~the concurrence ofat least two~t:hirds ofthe mc:mben ofthe cotmnission.

- Military cDmmiuiotls prllvide important security IUlvllutsges for the WaT-01l1ell111tnno
-I Military commissions m~yconsider a hroad l'3llgc of ~idc:nce, includiDg clm£i~,~
intelli.gc:acc infaon.ation.. which llUI.y be peculiarly impOTtmt in tecrorism ttiaJg butwhkh J might be unavailable Co other types oflribUIJ3ls.' ,
.\I Proceedings or portions of pro~or trial records before military commissions may be appropriately protected from wsclosure in order to safegwu:d national SC!=\Uity int~or'" classified evidence. '
~ t U.S. military conu:nis&ions may be comtcmed' ; in thc 'WOrld. including aboard US. ! vcssds in internationa[ wa',ers, and. may be cOLlvc:n.c;d in places and tlllcier COtJdjtions that will enhance lhe pbysical security ofproceedings :m.d minimize risks 10 public safety. ','.
Military detention and trial by military commission ~a lon:.rl:anding IlJId weD-' , . " e$tabIished practice for d~Iin1! with IJOfri'VfD) enemy belIigen:nts duriag wartime. :'
• /. 'The ~rnc:tice ofusing milit1I)' cOolnllssions 10 C4lU1ha1ao.~ who violate:; ~o L-tws of auntd;, irs . , 'coilflict lS older than the R.:publi(;. nW~amploycd dunng the RcvohltJon3I)' War by !
'America's first President: then-Geoen1l George Washington convened military cOlllmissions to try and ex~teBtitish spies cau8ht'behiru! U,S. lines," ',,_,
• Pn:s' em Roosevelt ordered that militlUy commissions bo lLSed to try Getman a~boteurs and
terra who rurreplitiouslyenten::d the Uriited States during World War n. This practica ' ecm~lyupheld by the U.S . .s~Court in the case ofEx parte Quirin in 1942,
c:ommissians wcc\: also used by'President Lincn]n during the Civil Wat to try :::~ Con fPrlrT"2'I'r spies lUld Sabotenis in circumstances analogous' to those contIonIingthe IUl1i91i now. Cases tried by military coIIlIIlissioD during the Civil War included !:hat ofa confederate :Klfdierwha, while in disguise. emeted and attempted. to set ,fire to New-York City, anp a group ofconfederates who came aboard a merchant steamer in the POrtofPananm Illi!~d as peaceful passengers with the putposc: oftak:i~g over the vc:sscl and converting it info a ,:'.2: Confederau, cruiser,


. NOV. 1.~. 2001 9: 33PM NSC MULTILAT
• Alllilitarycolllmission was also us~ to tha conspirators ~ansible for th:=i.:~;1"'.~_""+".
..., . . . . .. I
. . ~rPresident r:i~coln. ' ••
Militaly CO'almissions WC:fl~ also used cnsive!y during the Mexkan War by General
Wmjjeld Stott and during the Indian W4IS.

: Although the present Ortkr appli~ onl;~ DOn-citi~ military commissiQD..S have been

; used even against U.S. citizens com.rni~g uts oftcrrori~on U.S. Soil during wartimo (as with tbe Lincoln conspiralors), even when the civil courts ofthe United States were still functioning (as with the G2tll1an sahcteub approllc:Dded in Nr::w York during Warld War ll), and even in Qle context of tmconvet1tiomlt WID Cas with the use ofJ'rll1itary c:ommi.ssians during the Indian Wars). ; . . .
- 'Th~TI! ~ weI1-esbblisbed leg31 ~UthOd~,sUP(lOrting the llS~ of miliUf)' cOlnmwinn~.--------.-:-.
• Congress has SP~callYJ)rovided for ~J use ofInilitary alIIlllllssions for .. ~.tTendtts ~ :
offi:nscs that by mmte or law ofwarlllfl1bel tried by military cammiSBicI15, .. 10 U.S.C §
821. and the ~~~3S inhm.nt constjtutio:nal autbmity as Comman~~.i:n-Cbicfto
convene such com.rtllSSlon~ I

: I'·~··',.
• IThe United Sta.tes Supreml! Court bas te1iiewed and approved the ll$c ofmilituy .·~.::2
commi,ssions for individuals committing offenses'against the: .Ia.w of war. See, e.g.. Ex part~·
'!~317, 1].S. 1,30 (1942) (upbol . I trial saboteurs on U.s. soil); M
.Yamashita, 327 U.S. 1 (1946) (uphol' trAil ofJapanC3c GoVtlrnor of the Pb.i1ippin~
,foUowing'concIU£ion ofW;ll').

• ~rcJing to t.he Attamcy Gcnctn1 in the 0 of the: Lincoln as;assiilation,. "to unite with ~anditti,jayhawken;. guc:ri lias, or any 0 llDautborizcd !iaranders is a high offense ~ .the laWs ofwar:' and "the offence is complete: when the b1lOd is organiz~rjoined." ~1 " p.s.Op.Auy_Goo-at3J2. I. . .-.L~,
I : . ~
• 1'4i1ituy CQJTlmissions havt; routinely been. used in the context of aonci conflicts short of formally dc:clared War.J wilh foreign 04tiohs. See The Prize Cases. 67 U.S. (2 Black) 635 (1861); MoRton. v. ~~180 U.~.161 (1901); Unlawful Traffic with rn.dia:tis.1J ---. Op! AtfyGen. 470 (t87l). I '
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