Military Commissions Seal
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Judges Bench and witness stand in Courtroom II

Judges Bench and witness stand in Courtroom II

Both Office of Military Commissions (OMC) Courtrooms I and II have state-of-the-art technology, which allows evidence to be presented and retained electronically while preserving public access to military commission proceedings and protecting national security.

Equipment in the OMC courtrooms is similar to, but more advanced than, that in most U.S. federal courtrooms. The equipment was installed to ensure that the level of litigation support met or exceeded both U.S. and international standards.

Most military commission proceedings require real-time interpretation of the proceedings into a language the accused understands. Interpreters are not physically present in the courtroom, but are in another location where they interpret using real-time audio and video feeds. This allows DoD to protect the identity of the interpreters, and also allows for interpretation into multiple languages, if required. Non-English speakers can hear the interpretation using wireless, infrared headphones. The defense team may also have an interpreter assigned to assist communications between counsel and the accused. That interpreter sits in the courtroom.

Any commission proceedings which are open to the public are transmitted by closed-circuit television to the nearby Media Center. This allows members of the media to either sit in the courtroom, or watch the proceedings in the Media Center where they can simultaneously work on their stories.

Each courtroom has video teleconferencing (VTC) capability so that witnesses in other locations can testify via VTC if they are unable to travel to Guantanamo Bay.

Consistent with U.S. practice in federal courts and courts-martial, no photographs or videos of trial proceedings are retained. The only official record of trial proceedings which is retained is that taken by the court reporter.

In each courtroom, counsel may display evidence electronically using a laptop at either the podium or the counsel table, or using a document camera, VHS tape player or DVD player. Each panel member (a.k.a. “juror”), the military judge and the audience have video screens on which to view the evidence as it is being presented. Any evidence presented in this manner also appears on the closed-circuit televisions in the Media Center.