guilty until proven innocent

 Osha Neumann

Christy @ firedoglake writes:

"Under the current system, the defendant bears the burden of proving innocence to a panel of military officers. They are proving their innocence to charges that, for the most part, they never fully get to see, based on evidence they aren’t allowed to review completely. This evidence is gathered from witnesses who are not identified to the defendants so that there is no possibility of independent investigation for the most part — because such information is deemed to be too highly classified for defendants to see it and, thus, they have no real opportunity to rebut these phantom charges and assertions whatsoever made by people who are kept anonymous to them.

Thus, the full extent of the charges are unchallengeable on the merits because the defendants never get to know what all the merits are."

MORE: Happy Trials To You…

Art by Osha Neumann.

from Wikipedia:

  • In Canada, section 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: "Any person charged with an offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal".

  • In France, article 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, of constitutional value, says "Every man is supposed innocent until having been declared guilty." and the preliminary article of the code of criminal procedure says "any suspected or prosecuted person is presumed to be innocent until his guilt has been established". The jurors' oath reiterates this assertion.

  • Although the Constitution of the United States does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th and 14th amendments. See also Coffin v. United States.

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

  • The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe says (art. 6.2): "Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law". This convention has been adopted by treaty and is binding on all Council of Europe members. Currently (and in any foreseeable expansion of the EU) every country member of the European Union is also member to the Council of Europe, so this stands for EU members as a matter of course.

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