Army revises regulations on military executions
January 26, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has issued revisions on execution regulations that for the first time allow executions outside the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., but officials insist this does not allow executions at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The updated regulations allow officials to determine where executions should be held on a case-by-case basis, making it possible for executions outside the United States, said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman.
“The update lends more flexibility to our system,” said Hart in an e-mailed response to questions.
Seven inmates are awaiting execution on military death row, said Janet Wray, a spokeswoman for Fort Leavenworth.
Army spokesman Paul the revised regulations do not affect detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
“The reference to military tribunals in the Army Regulation governing Soldiers does not apply to the military commissions that would be used at Gitmo or elsewhere,” Boyce said in an e-mail.
But attorney Eugene Fidell said the revised regulations do in fact apply to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
“Let’s not kid ourselves that this does not apply to the military commission. It does,” he said.
Fidell taught military justice at Harvard Law School and serves as president of the National Institute of Military Justice.
“On the face of the regulation, it applies to ‘military tribunals’ as well as courts-martial, and the only tribunals we have right now are the Gitmo commissions,” he said.
Still, Maj. Michael Shavers, a Defense Department spokesman, said the revised regulations have nothing to do with the legal proceedings at Guantanamo.
“There is no procedure or place at Guantanamo designated for an execution, that is because no detainee has been referred to a capital trial, sentenced to death, nor has the President approved a capital sentence,” Shavers said in an e-mail.
While the revised regulations do allow executions at places other than Leavenworth, “Military commissions were not a consideration in the revisions,” he said.
Fidell maintains the language of the regulations is clear on the matter. “This is in English, and it says it covers military tribunals, which in current parlance means military commissions,” he said. “Maybe there’s a classified index.”