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Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'$
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Daniel Moeckli

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239801

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239801.001.0001

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Trial of Foreign Terrorist Suspects

Trial of Foreign Terrorist Suspects

Chapter:
(p.128) 5 Trial of Foreign Terrorist Suspects
Source:
Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'
Author(s):

Moeckli Daniel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239801.003.0005

This chapter discusses the trial of alleged terrorists by special tribunals. It demonstrates that the right to equality before the courts — one of the most important aspects of the right to non-discrimination — protects foreign defendants from being treated differently on the basis of their nationality both in times of peace and armed conflict. The establishment of special tribunals that only have jurisdiction to try foreign terrorist suspects could therefore only be regarded as justified if it was supported by compelling reasons. Yet it is impossible to discern objective and reasonable grounds for subjecting foreign, but not domestic, terrorist suspects to a special trial system. Rather than being a suitable, and thus proportionate, means of protecting national security, the one-sided focus of such tribunal systems is motivated by political considerations and may have serious negative impacts on the legitimacy, and thus the effectiveness of anti-terrorism efforts.

Keywords:   special tribunals, military commissions, military courts, right to a fair trial, equality before the courts, foreign nationals

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