William and Mary Law School

William & Mary Law School Students Assist the Pentagon in Prosecuting Guantanamo Detainees

  • Professor Linda A. Malone
    Professor Linda A. Malone
    Students enrolled in Professor Malone's seminar will soon be researching and writing legal memos for the Pentagon's Office of Prosecutions in cases proceeding before the Guantanamo Bay military commissions.

William & Mary law students enrolled in Professor Linda A. Malone's seminar "International Litigation in U.S. Courts" will soon be researching and writing legal memos for the Chief Prosecutor of the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions.  Their legal research will help support the government's case against detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"The Pentagon contacted me about assisting with its prosecutions just before it announced that Guantanamo Bay detainees would be tried in New York federal court and in military commissions," Malone says.  "It is an amazing and very exciting opportunity for our students."

In 2004, Malone supervised students in preparing detailed legal memoranda for the judges of the Iraqi Special Tribunal, the court that tried Saddam Hussein.  The project received extensive media coverage.  

Malone says that experience will help her structure this new endeavor in ways that will best support prosecutions before the commissions.  "It also was useful in preparing to deal with extremely important issues of confidentiality and national security," Malone says.

Twenty-five students will benefit from this unique opportunity.  As an integral part of the class, they will assist in the prosecution of high profile detainees, including those charged in the U.S.S. Cole bombing.   Each student will write a 25-30 page paper on complex, often novel, and highly sensitive legal issues confronted by military commissions prosecutors in the course of their work.

"Our students will experience first-hand how to deal personally and professionally with cases of the utmost importance and sensitivity involving some of today's most challenging legal issues," notes Malone.  

Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas said he was delighted, but not surprised, that the Pentagon chose Malone's seminar for this project.  "Linda Malone's expertise in the Guantanamo Bay military commissions and her stellar performance with the Iraqi Criminal Tribunals make her an outstanding choice to lead students in this kind of work.  Our students will uphold William & Mary's long tradition of public service with their contributions."

Malone is the Marshall-Wythe Foundation Professor of Law and Director of the Human Security Law Program.  She is the author of numerous articles and has authored twelve books on international law, human rights, and environmental law.  She received the 2009-2010 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in International Environmental Law at the University of Turin, Italy.  In 1998, she received the Fulbright/OSCE Regional Research Award for her work on women's and children's rights in Eastern Europe.  She is a frequent speaker locally, nationally, and internationally, and a frequent commentator for newspapers and other media outlets.

Editor's Note: WVEC 13News aired a segment on Malone and her students' involvement with the Pentagon on January 21, 2010.