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Although the pontiff initially proposed a tribunal that would hold bishops accountable for protecting pedophile priests, he announced Saturday that he will instead clarify existing legal procedures. Although the pontiff initially proposed a tribunal that would hold bishops accountable for protecting pedophile priests, he announced Saturday that he will instead clarify existing legal procedures.

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Much of the criticism of the Obama administration's decision to bring criminal charges against the failed Christmas Day bomber is ill-informed, ill-intentioned or both. All that said, I'm left with one nagging worry.

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In what will be the Pentagon's first war crimes trial since World War II, the U.S. will go forward Monday in trying Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Unknown still is the trial date for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the government cabal that also may have committed war crimes.

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Kang Kek Ieu, otherwise known as Duch, the first of a group of former Khmer Rouge leaders to be investigated by a U.N.-affiliated tribunal in Cambodia, has been charged with crimes against humanity, according to the BBC.

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David Hicks pleaded guilty Monday to supporting terrorism, probably to escape the living hell of Guantanamo Bay, with its show trials and "interrogation" chambers that continue to shame America at home and abroad.

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It's possible that even greater shame awaits the U.S. in 2007, apparently as early as next month. From the NYT: "An Iraqi appeals court today upheld a death sentence for Saddam Hussein in a decision that clears the way for his execution within 30 days, Iraqi officials said."

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Truthdig tips its hat to the Navy lawyer who on Dec. 11 won a major ACLU award for his successful defense in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Supreme Court case that dashed Bush administration efforts to try terror suspects in special military courts.

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Truthdig salutes the 86-year-old Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which struck down the military tribunals Bush set up to try Guantanamo detainees. But more important, this decision, in the words of a Yale law professor, "effectively undermines the Administration's strongest claims about Presidential power," and may constitute the legal framework necessary to halt the more egregious of Bush's civil liberties-infringing programs -- like warrantless wiretapping and holding terrorism suspects without trial.

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The admiral in charge of the Guantanamo military detention center said he doubts Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on presidential authority will have any effect on his operations. But a Bush administration lawyer wasn't as sanguine, saying about the decision, "It's very broad, it's very significant, and it's a slam."

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