Anthony Barkow talks to the Associated Press about military hearings in Guantanamo

Anthony Barkow, executive director of the Law School’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, spoke to the Associated Press about the week he spent this fall in Guantanamo observing military tribunals and writing about his observations for Human Rights First, the international human rights organization.

Barkow is the only observer who successfully prosecuted terrorist sympathizers when he was an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

He told the Associated Press he was surprised about the lack of openness surrounding the tribunals. Court observers, the media, and representatives of human rights groups sat behind a glass partition during the most sensitive proceedings, listening to testimony on a tape delay, he said.

He said defendants were unable to understand the proceedings, the court and jury were unable to completely hear them, and the interpreters were “simply not up to their tasks.”

Barkow said he was impressed by the judges at Guantanamo who seemed fair with defendants and that most prosecutors and defense attorneys seemed professional and well-meaning. But they were left “practicing with a flawed, ad hoc system,” he said.