Predictably enough, the Government has appealed Mr. Justice Zinn’s decision last week, which found that the Government needed take further steps to cure its ongoing violation of Omar Khadr’s constitutional rights. It has also requested that the deadlines set out in the Federal Court’s order be suspended pending appeal. As you may recall, Mr. Justice Zinn ordered the Government to provide Mr. Khadr with a list of proposed remedies for his section 7 violation by today. A copy of the Government’s letter to the Federal Court, advising it of its intention to appeal, is available at the Globe and Mail.
Meanwhile, in GTMO this morning, the military judge overseeing Mr. Khadr’s trial by military commission denied his request to represent himself in the hearings. Last week, Mr. Khadr fired his civilian lawyers, and this morning, indicated to military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish that he wished to dismiss his military lawyer as well. (The military commissions process appoints military defence counsel, in addition to permitting civilian representation.) Colonel Parrish refused Mr. Khadr’s request, and refused to relieve Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson as Mr. Khadr’s military counsel. Nonetheless, Mr. Khadr has indicated that he does not intend to give the Lieutenant-Colonel any instructions, calling the entire military commissions process a “sham”.
On this last point, we are in complete agreement with Mr. Khadr — as we’ve said in the past, the military commissions process is a deeply flawed system of adjudication, which is literally making up the rules as it goes along. We simply can’t see how this “trial” can retain any sort of legitimacy at this point, with Mr. Khadr proceeding essentially unrepresented, except by a member of the military in a military court, presided over by a military judge, prosecuted by a military lawyer.