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U.S. courts best venue to try terror cases, study says

The analysis of 107 cases after 9/11 adds fuel to the debate over whether military tribunals are needed.

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The US criminal justice system is up to the task of detaining, placing on trial, and punishing suspected international terrorists, according to a report released on Wednesday.

With preparations under way for military commission trials to begin in July at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the advocacy group Human Rights First has published an analysis of 107 terrorism cases prosecuted in American courts since the 9/11 attacks.

The authors, both former federal prosecutors, say an examination of US terror cases reveals that existing structures and institutions in the federal justice system are robust and flexible enough to detain and prosecute most terror suspects.

Lawyers Richard Zabel and James Benjamin say that existing courts enjoy many advantages over the untested military commission process at Guantánamo or the proposed creation of a special national security court in the US.

"In general, the criminal justice system has done a good job in handling terrorism cases," Mr. Benjamin said at a press conference. "It has produced reliable results without causing security breaches or other problems for national security."

The report emerges amid growing calls to close the Guantánamo terror prison camp and with the US Supreme Court expected to rule by late June on the legal rights of terror suspects there.


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