Military Tribunals in Historical and International Context
Published by: NYU Press
272 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9780814775912
- Published: June 2007
The Al-Qaeda terror attacks of September 11, 2001, aroused a number of extraordinary counter measures in response, including an executive order authorizing the creation of military tribunals or “commissions” for the trial of accused terrorists. The Supreme Court has weighed in on the topic with some controversial and deeply divided decisions, most recently Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
At this critical moment in time, Extraordinary Justice seeks to fill an important gap in our understanding of what military tribunals are, how they function, and how successful they are in administering justice by placing them in comparative and historical context. Peter Judson Richards examines tribunals in four modern conflicts: the American Civil War, the British experience in the Boer War, the French tribunals of the “Great War,” and Allied practices during the Second World War.
Richards also examines the larger context of specific political, legal and military concerns, addressing scholarly and policy debates that continually arise in connection with the implementation of these extraordinary measures. He concludes that while the record of the national tribunals has been mixed, enduring elements in the character of warfare, of justice, and the nature of political reality together justify their continued use in certain situations.
“Provides a timely work of history and a proactive thesis”
-New York Law Journal
“A fascinating history of military commissions in the West's prior wars. Peter Richards argues that military justice has a necessary role to play in defeating al Qaeda. The processes of fair trial, he argues, must take account of the real difficulties posed by this new style of war.”
-Ruth Wedgwood,Edward Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins University
“Provides a comprehensive look at the history of tribunals.”
“An excellent work, breaking new ground while respecting the scholarship and writing that has gone before. It is unique in its content, approach, and lessons, reflecting deep research and excellent scholarship.”
-Gary D. Solis,Georgetown Law, and author of Marines and Military Law in Vietnam
“A timely and important book, providing a much needed historical overview on war tribunals.”-Book Reviews
“Peter Richards’ EXTRAORDINARY JUSTICE provides through historical analysis a strong defense of the resort to martial law and military tribunals, especially in times of civil emergency, to restore law and order in society.”
-Law & Politics Book Review
“In an illuminating . . . survey, Richards traces the use of military commissions . . . throughout the U.S. history as well as in the Boer War and World War I.”
-New York Law Journal
“At this critical moment in time, Extraordinary Justice seeks to fill an important gap in our understanding of what military tribunals are, how they function, and how successful they are in administering justice by placing them in comparative and historical context.”
-International Law Reporter