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Senior Military Lawyer Was Leery of Tribunals

In the weeks and months immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a working group of top military lawyers began meeting at the Pentagon to consider how to handle captured prisoners. The lawyers knew the prisoners would present new challenges.

But the lawyers were not comfortable with a total overhaul of the established military justice system. What the military legal team didn't know is that White House lawyers were working on a plan to create a whole new system of military tribunals for "enemy combatants."

Retired Rear Admiral Donald Guter, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy at that time, was part of the Pentagon group. All along, Admiral Guter says, he had strong reservations about war crimes tribunals. And he says he's not surprised that the Supreme Court has issued a ruling saying they should not go forward.

Guter is currently the dean of the Dusquesne law school.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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