Ruddock responds to Institute letter about Hicks
THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP
Sr Caroline Ryan RSM
LEWISHAM NSW 2049
Thank you for your letter of 16 August 2006 on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy in
You raise a number of issues in relation to the military commission trial and detention of Mr Hicks.
Mr Hicks was to be tried before a military commission in
As a result of this Supreme Court decision, the
The Military Commissions Act authorises the President to establish military commissions, establishes the jurisdiction of the commissions over “˜unlawful enemy combatants’, and sets out procedures for the treatment, prosecution and conviction of suspected terrorists. The Act incorporates a number of due process safeguards, including: the presumption of innocence, a right to be present throughout the trial, a right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, a ban on evidence obtained by torture, access to evidence the prosecution intends to adduce at trial, the provision of military defence counsel and the ability to retain civilian defence counsel, the option to remain silent or testify at trial, standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt, double jeopardy protections and an extensive appeals process.
The Australian Government has liaised with the
At present, there is no set date for Mr Hicks’ trial. Certain procedures have to be followed in order to reconstitute the military commission, including the proclamation of regulations relating to some of the military commission procedures. During my discussions with Attorney-General Gonzales, I emphasised
The Government provides consular assistance to Mr Hicks, as we do for all Australians facing court or in gaol overseas. Australian officials visit Mr Hicks at
I have put together a document containing frequently asked questions and answers in order to provide concerned Australians with accurate, up-to-date information in relation to Mr Hicks. Please find a copy attached. This document is also available on my website at: http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/MinisterRuddockHome.nsf/Page/Media_Releases, and will be updated regularly.
Thank you for writing to the Government with your concerns.