WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The new rules issued for military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, differ from the way the United States court-martials its own troops, an official said.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who signed the regulations, said the difference is necessitated by the unique circumstances of the conduct of military intelligence operations during hostilities, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.
The 202-page document released Monday gives each case's military judge the authority to approve the costs of a so-called learned counsel, a civilian defense attorney with extensive experience defending capital murder cases.
It also outlines procedures through which observers can protest a judge's decision to declare an aspect of a trial as "protected."
Legal observers said both issues could be relevant in the upcoming prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Saudi-born captive charged in the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Al-Nashiri, 46, is scheduled to be arraigned at Guantanamo Bay Wednesday. His prosecution will be the first under the new rules.
Human Rights Watch attorney Andrea Prasow questioned the timing of the rules' release.
"The very idea that new rules could be issued moments before someone is arraigned to face the death penalty offends any notion of due process," Prasow said.