New York Times
Thursday, March 21, 2002

A comparison of some rules for military tribunals for terrorism suspects with courts-martial and civilian courts.

CIVILIAN FEDERAL COURTSAccused chooses own lawyer, or one is provided if the accused cannot afford one.12 members drawn at random.Unanimous decision to convict and to impose sentence, including the death penalty.Strict federal rules of evidence apply, including of custody chain of evidence.United States Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court
COURTS- MARTIALGovernment provides a military lawyer; accused can request one of own choosing. Can also pay for a civilian lawyer.For serious offenses, at least five military members selected by the commanding officer.Two-thirds vote to convict in non-capital cases; unanimous vote required for conviction and sentencing in death penalty cases.Strict military rules of evidence apply, virtually identical to the federal rules of evidence.Cases are subject to review by military Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Armed Forces and then the Supreme Court.
MILITARY TRIBUNALSA military lawyer provided, and the accused can replace with one of own choosing. Accused can also pay for a civilian attorney.Three to seven military officers appointed by the military. Seven members required for death penalty cases.A two-thirds vote required to convict. Decision to impose the death penalty would have to be unanimous.Evidence can be admitted if it “would have probative value to a reasonable person.”A review panel appointed by the Secretary of Defense, which could include civilians temporarily appointed as officers.

Sources: Administration officials (commissions); National Institute of Military Justice (courts-martial, federal courts)