Military Commissions Act Law and Legal Definition

Military Commissions Act is an act to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes. Originally, Military Commissions Act was enacted in the year 2006. Later in 2009, the 2006 Act was amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009. The provisions of the 2009 Act are quoted from 10 USCS § 948a to 10 USCS § 950t. The important features of the 2009 Act are:

It authorizes the U.S. President to establish military commissions for offenses triable by a military commission;

It authorizes a military commission to decide about the question of jurisdiction of a military commission; and

It establishes the procedures governing the use of a military commission to try alien unprivileged enemy belligerents for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by a military commission.

In Obaydullah v. Obama, 609 F.3d 444 (D.C. Cir. 2010), the court held that “The Military Commissions Act of 2009 (MCA), Pub. L. No. 111-84, tit. XVIII, 123 Stat. 2190, 2574-614, specifies the procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unprivileged enemy belligerents for violations of the laws of war and other offenses triable by military commission." The MCA, along with the Rules for Military Commissions promulgated by the Secretary of Defense to govern the procedures and punishments in all trials by military commissions under the MCA, Rules for Military Commissions 101(a), establish a two-step process for initiating a trial before a military commission. First, any person subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice may swear a charge against a defendant. Second, the convening authority--either the Secretary of Defense or his designee--decides whether the charge should be dismissed or referred to a military commission for trial. There is no deadline for making that determination.”