Lectures & Events

A Conversation with the Chief Prosecutor of United States Military Commissions
Frederick K. Cox International Law Center
Co-sponsored by
Institute for Global Security Law and Policy
SEP 24, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Moot Courtroom (A59)
CLE Credit
Approved for 1 hour of in-person CLE credit

The Case Western Reserve University School of Law hosts Brigadier General Mark Martins, Chief Prosecutor for the United States in cases alleging violations of the law of war and lead trial counsel in the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four other accused perpetrators of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Martins will outline major provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2009 — which reformed a system much criticized when established in 2001 by presidential order — and will address the due process protections, constitutional authority, established sources of law, narrowness of jurisdiction, oversight by United States federal civilian courts, compliance with international legal obligations, public trial requirements, and transparency measures that characterize the reformed military commissions. Martins will also address continuing challenges to the reformed system's legitimacy, suggest what will be necessary to surmount perceptions of "victor's justice," and offer thoughts on the future of efforts to hold al Qaeda and associated forces accountable under law. Much of the time will be reserved for questions; while trial counsel are precluded from discussing specifics of ongoing prosecutions, queries of the speaker on broader questions are encouraged.

This presentation and discussion will be of great interest to Ohio attorneys, especially prosecutors and defense counsel. The issues before the Military Commissions are relevant to their practice, especially in cases involving terrorism and organized crime.
Speaker Information
Mark MartinsBrigadier General, Mark Martins
Chief Prosecutor for the United States

In September of 2011, Brigadier General Martins became Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions. Over the previous year, in Afghanistan, Martins was commander of the Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan and of the dual-hat NATO Rule of Law Field Support Mission. The prior year, also in Afghanistan, he had served as the first and Interim Commander of Joint Task Force 435 and then as its first Deputy Commander upon Senate Confirmation of Vice Admiral Robert Harward. In these roles, Brigadier General Martins led the effort to reform United States detention operations in Afghanistan and provided field support to Afghan and international civilian rule of law project teams in contested provinces of the country. Immediately prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, Brigadier General Martins co-led the interagency Detention Policy Task Force created by President Obama in January 2009.

Commissioned in the infantry after graduating first in order of merit from the United States Military Academy in 1983, Brigadier General Martins served as a platoon leader and staff officer in the 82d Airborne Division. He then became a judge advocate and has since served in a variety of legal and non-legal positions. These have included criminal trial counsel, operational lawyer, staff judge advocate, chief of staff, and commander. He has been deployed to zones of armed conflict for more than five years, including service as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Kosovo Force, Staff Judge Advocate for First Armored Division and then Multi-National Force—Iraq, and his recent duties with Rule of Law Field Support Teams across eight provinces and twenty-three key districts in Afghanistan.

Brigadier General Martins is a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol College, P.P.E., 1st Class Honours, 1985) and a graduate of Harvard Law School (magna cum laude, 1990). He holds an L.L.M. in Military Law and a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy, having attended the Infantry and Judge Advocate Officer Basic courses, the Judge Advocate Graduate course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. He has published widely in professional journals.

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of State Meritorious Honor Award, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (two awards), and the Army Meritorious Service Medal (multiple awards). He has also earned the Ranger Tab, Pathfinder Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.
In April of 2011, Brigadier General Martins was awarded the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom.

Additional Information

There is no law school parking, however, public parking, for a fee, is available in the Cleveland Botanical Garden parking underground garage. Also, meter parking might be available.

1-hour CLE credit pending approval
Free and open to the public
Please register at the door.

Supplemental Readings:

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