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March 23, 2007

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or kfortune@law.utexas.edu.
Event/Press Contact: Courtney Chavez, TILJ, 512-626-7429 (cell) or cchavez@gmail.com.

TILJ, Robert Strauss Center Host Symposium on the Military Commissions Act, April 10 & 11

Streaming Video of the Symposium Now Available in Windows Media Format:
(Requires Windows Media Player)

AUSTIN, Texas—The Texas International Law Journal (TILJ) at The University of Texas School of Law and the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law will sponsor a symposium on April 10 & 11 that addresses the legal and political consequences of the recently enacted Military Commissions Act. The event—free and open to the public—will be held in the Law School’s Eidman Courtroom.

Retired Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Military Commissions is scheduled to give the symposium’s keynote address on Tuesday, April 10, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Eidman Courtroom. UT law professor Derek Jinks will introduce Swift. In June 2006, the National Law Journal named Swift one of “the 100 most influential lawyers in America” after his appointment and representation of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemini detainee held at Guantánamo Bay. Hamden v. Rumsfeld challenged the constitutionality of President Bush’s plan to try terror suspects through military tribunals.

Drafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Military Commissions Act (MCA) puts forth a purpose of “bringing to justice terrorists and other unlawful enemy combatants through full and fair trials by military commissions.” Commander Swift will reflect upon his experiences representing Hamden, the Supreme Court’s decision in that case, and the subsequent passage of the MCA.

Throughout the symposium, questions about the Military Commissions Act will also be discussed such as: Is the Act appropriate legislation under the U.S. Constitution? Does the Act violate international laws on human rights? What are the consequences of having such legislation? The TILJ and the Strauss Center are encouraging a debate in an open and public forum in an effort to answer some of these questions.

Invited to speak at the symposium are experts from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law as well as other academics and practitioners from across the country. Experts will discuss the Military Commissions Act in four panels: (1) Military Commissions; (2) Interrogation; (3) Standards and Procedures for Classifying ‘Enemy Combatants’; and, (4) Defining the Role of the Courts.

The Texas International Law Journal is the second-oldest student-edited journal at UT, and one of the oldest and most prestigious international law journals in the United States. The annual symposium is the source for many of TILJ’s most important published articles.

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law works to facilitate multidisciplinary, non-partisan, policy-relevant research and develop effective policy solutions to address the most pressing global challenges facing the United States and the rest of the world. The Strauss Center was founded in 2006 in a unique collaboration involving the College of Liberal Arts, the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.

A full schedule of the symposium can be found at: http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2007/mca_schedule.pdf

Related Links:

The Texas International Law Journal:
http://www.utexas.edu/law/journals/tilj/

Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law:
www.robertstrausscenter.org