Accused An individual who is facing charges, either
sworn or referred, before a military commission or a court-martial, called “the defendant” in civilian
courts in the U.S.
Admission A self-incriminating statement falling
short of an acknowledgment of guilt, even if it was intended by its maker to be exculpatory.
Alien An individual who is not a citizen of the
Alien Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent An individual
who is not a citizen of the United States, who is not a privileged belligerent, who (a) has engaged in hostilities
against the United States or its coalition partners; (b) has purposefully and materially supported hostilities
against the United States or its coalition partners; or (c) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of the alleged
offense under the M.C.A. of 2009.
Appellate military judge A judge on a military court
of appeals; must be a commissioned officer of the armed forces, serving on active duty, who is a member of the bar
of a Federal court or a member of the bar of the highest court of a State or the District of Columbia.
Armed Forces The four uniformed armed forces of the
United States, including the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force. 10 U.S.C. § 101.
Article Refers to articles of the Uniform Code of
Military Justice (Title 10 U.S.C., Chapter 47) unless the context indicates otherwise.
Article III courts Also referred to as “federal
courts,” these include the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expressly created in Article III of the U.S.
Constitution, as well as U.S. district courts and U.S. courts of appeal, which are created by Congress in accordance
with Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
Attorney A lawyer.
Capital case A military commission to which a
capital offense has been referred with an instruction that the case be treated as capital, and, in the case of a
rehearing or new or other trial, for which offense death remains an authorized punishment under R.M.C. 810(d).
Capital offense An offense for which death is an
authorized punishment under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code, or the law of war.
Citizen of the United States A person may become a
citizen of the United States only by birth within the territory of the United States, by birth to parents who are
United States citizens, or by naturalization. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1401, 1427.
Classified information (a) Any information or
material that has been determined by the U.S. Government pursuant to statute, Executive order, or regulation to
require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national security; or (b) Any restricted data, as
that term is defined in section 11y of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. § 2014(y)).
Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) The
federal law that provides procedures for the use of classified information in legal proceedings in Article III
Client A person, public officer, corporation,
association, organization or other entity, either public or private, who receives professional legal services from a
lawyer, or who consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional legal services from the lawyer.
Coalition partner With respect to hostilities engaged
in by the United States, “coalition partner” means any State or armed force directly engaged along with
the United States in such hostilities or providing direct operational support to the United States in connection
with such hostilities.
Code Refers to the Uniform Code of Military Justice
(UCMJ), unless the context indicates otherwise.
Confession An acknowledgment of guilt.
Confidential communication Communication not intended
to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is in furtherance of the rendition of
professional legal services to the client or those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the
Convening Authority The Secretary of Defense or any
officer or official of the United States designated by the Secretary of Defense for the purpose of convening
military commissions and referring charges to commissions for trial.
Conviction The judgment by a military commission,
court-martial or federal court that a person is guilty of a crime.
Cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment
The cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and
Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984, without geographical limitation.
Declarant A person who has made a statement.
Detail To order a person to perform a specific temporary duty,
unless the context indicates otherwise, such as to serve as a defense counsel, a prosecutor, a military judge or as
a panel member for a military commission.
Detainee An individual held in the custody of the
United States under the laws of war.
Exculpatory information For purposes of military
commissions, evidence that reasonably tends to negate the guilt of the accused of an offense charged, reduce the
degree of guilt of the accused with respect to an offense charged, impeach the credibility of a witness whom the
government intends to call at trial and, upon a finding of guilt, information that reasonably may be viewed as
mitigation evidence at sentencing. 10 U.S.C. 949j(b).
Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of
War The Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, done at Geneva, August 12, 1949
(6 UST 3316).
Geneva Conventions The international conventions
signed at Geneva on August 12, 1949, which apply to various aspects of the conduct of hostilities.
GTMO Acronym for Guantanamo.
Habeas Corpus An order (called a “writ”)
issued by a court to a public officer to produce a person before the court; a habeas corpus petition may be filed by
an individual with the appropriate court to challenge the lawfulness of his detention.
Hearsay A statement made by a person, called the
“declarant,” other than the one the person made while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in
evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
Hostilities Any conflict subject to the laws of
In camera proceeding A closed and private
session authorized under the Rules for Military Commissions so that a military judge may review classified
information or other sensitive evidentiary matters without risking the release of protected information or biasing
Judge advocate A military lawyer; a commissioned
officer of one of the U.S. Armed Forces who must be a lawyer, licensed to practice law in the United States and
admitted to the bar of a Federal court or the highest court of a State or the District of Columbia.
Judge Advocate General The title of the senior judge
advocates in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard. The senior judge advocate in the U.S.
Marine Corps is the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant.
JTF Joint Task Force.
Lawyer A person authorized to practice law.
Legal Advisor An official appointed by authority of
the Secretary of Defense who fulfills the responsibilities of that position, as delineated in the Manual for
Military Commissions, and otherwise provides legal advice and recommendations to the convening authority, similar in
nature to that provided by a staff judge advocate under the UCMJ. A legal advisor may be military or civilian and
may include a judge advocate.
Material support or resources Any property, tangible
or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services,
lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications
equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (one or more individuals who may be or
include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.
M.C.A. The Military Commission Act of 2009, which
provides the authority to establish military commissions under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code, unless
M.C.M. The Manual for Courts-Martial.
M.M.C. The Manual for Military Commissions, which
contains rules of procedure and evidence.
Members Active duty commissioned officers who
collectively determine whether an accused is guilty of any or all of the charges and then determine a sentence; akin
to civilian jury members.
Military commission Includes, depending on the
context: (a) The military judge and members of a military commission; or (b) The military judge when a session of a
military commission is conducted without members under Rule for Military Commissions 803.
Mil. Comm. R. Evid. The Military Commission Rules of
Military Commission Rules of Evidence The rules
established by the Secretary of Defense for the admission and treatment of evidence during trials by military
commission as published in the Manual for Military Commissions.
Military objectives Those objects which, under the
laws of war and the Military Commissions Act, may be lawfully targeted for attack. They include (a) combatants; and
(b) those objects during hostilities (i) which, by their nature, location, purpose, or use, effectively contribute
to the opposing force’s war-fighting or war-sustaining capability; and (ii) the total or partial destruction,
capture, or neutralization of which would constitute a definite military advantage to the attacker under the
circumstances at the time of the attack.
Military judge The presiding officer of a military
commission, who must be a military attorney (or “judge advocate”) certified to serve as a military judge
and must have previously served as a military judge.
Motion An application to the military judge for
particular relief, such as suppression of evidence. Motions may be oral or, at the discretion of the military judge,
National Security The national defense and foreign
relations of the United States.
Oath A solemn undertaking; an affirmation is the same
as an oath, except in an affirmation the words “so help you God” are omitted.
Party In the context of parties to a military
commission, means: (a) The accused and any defense or associate or assistant defense counsel and agents of the
defense counsel when acting on behalf of the accused with respect to the military commission in question; and (b)
Any trial or assistant trial counsel representing the United States, and agents of the trial counsel when acting on
behalf of the trial counsel with respect to the military commission in question.
Preferred A term of art under the UCMJ for the formal
swearing of charges against an accused; in military commissions, “preferred” is synonymous with
“sworn” in the context of charging offenses.
Privileged Belligerent A belligerent who complies
with the laws of war; an individual belonging to one of the eight categories enumerated in Article 4 of the Geneva
Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
Proceeding A part of the litigation of a trial.
Protected person Any person entitled to protection
from attack under one or more of the Geneva Conventions, including (a) civilians not taking an active part in
hostilities; (b) military personnel placed out of combat by sickness, wounds or detention; and (c) military medical
or religious personnel.
Protected property Any property specifically
protected from attack by the law of war (including buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or
charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected), if such
property is not being used for military purposes or is not otherwise a military objective.
Referral Referral is the order of a convening
authority that charges against an accused will be tried by a specified military commission. Once referral has taken
place, the charges are considered "referred."
R.M.C. Rules for Military Commissions.
Rules for Military Commissions The rules established
by the Secretary of Defense for conducting trials by military commission as published in the Manual for Military
Staff Judge Advocate A judge advocate so designated
in Army, Air Force or Marine Corps, and means the principal legal advisor of a command in the Navy and Coast Guard
who is a judge advocate.
sua sponte Means that the person involved acts on
that person’s own initiative, without the need for a request, motion or application.
Sworn charges Charges that have been developed by the
prosecution and which the prosecution represents under oath are supported by sufficient evidence to prosecute the
Torture An act specifically intended to inflict
severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incident to lawful sanctions) upon another
person within the actor’s custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a
confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
Tribunal A court or other adjudicatory body.
UCMJ The Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Uniform Code of Military Justice The federal law that
governs the armed forces and provides the basis for courts-martial; 10 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.
Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent An individual (other
than a privileged belligerent) who (a) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition
partners; (b) has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition
partners; or (c) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of the alleged offense under the M.C.A. of 2009.
Victim A person who has suffered direct physical,
emotional or pecuniary harm or loss as a result of the commission of an offense as defined in the M.C.A. of 2009 or
the law of war.
Withdrawn charges Charges against an accused that
were previously referred to a particular commission for trial but that are no longer referred to any commission for
With prejudice Charges that were dismissed with
prejudice may not be reinstated against the same accused.
Without prejudice Charges that were dismissed
without prejudice may be reinstated against the same accused.
Witness One who testifies at a commission and anyone
whose declaration is received in evidence for any purpose, including written declarations made by affidavit or
802 Conference Rule for Military Commissions (R.M.C.)
802 authorizes a meeting between the military judge and the prosecution and defense, that does not take
place on the record or in front of members, usually used to resolve scheduling and other administrative issues; a
summary of the discussions that take place must later be put on the public record; the same rule exists in courts-
martial and in Article III courts.