The Challenges of Trying Terrorists as Criminals

Proceedings of a RAND/SAIS Colloquium

by James Renwick, Gregory F. Treverton

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When charges of terrorism are made, courts must strive to balance the rights of the parties, particularly the accused, on the one hand, and national security, on the other. Special and sometimes unique questions may arise in such cases, including admissibility of evidence, deference to the other branches of government, and prosecutors' duties of disclosure. Throughout, the system must avoid any appearance of departure from open justice, to satisfy the press and retain public confidence. During a January 2008 workshop, sponsored by the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security and the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies of the Paul. H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the central legal questions that emerged concerned how to try suspected terrorists, against what laws, by what court or tribunal or commission system, and with what procedural and evidentiary safeguards.

The conference proceedings described in this report were co-sponsored by the RAND Corporation Center for Global Risk and Security, and by the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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