Top Guantanamo judge a critic in 2002

Dec. 13, 2007 at 10:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The top U.S. military judge conducting tribunals for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrote a university paper in 2002 calling tribunals "ill-advised."

U.S. Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann was appointed lead judge of the tribunals in March but a master's degree paper he wrote in 2002 has come to light in which he denounced the system, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"Unnecessary use of military tribunals in the face of reasonable international criticism is an ill-advised move," Kohlman wrote.

The paper, included in a link on the Pentagon Web site of newly released records of the war crimes prosecution of a former detainee, suggested it would be better to try terror suspects in a federal court in the United States.

The documents show that during that trial, defense lawyers questioned why he had written about the trial system.

"I chose the topic because it was in the news at the time," Kohlman responded.

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