The dismissal of charges against two Guantanamo detainees is forcing the Bush administration to re-evaluate the architecture of military tribunals moving forward. As legal scholar Scott Silliman tells NPR's Rebecca Roberts, the ruling results from a technicality.
The law allowing prisoners to be detained says they must simply be declared "enemy combatants," while the law under which they can be tried by military tribunals says they must be declared "unlawful enemy combatants." If the prisoners are re-designated, the tribunals can proceed.
The judges' rulings represent a victory for the process of law, Silliman says, but not a major impediment to the tribunal process.
Silliman is executive director of the Duke Law School's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security.