A U.S. war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo came to a screeching halt on Monday when a military judge dropped all the charges against a young Canadian in a ruling that could preclude trying any of the 380 prisoners any time soon. 2

A U.S. war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo came to a screeching halt on Monday when a military judge dropped all the charges against a young Canadian in a ruling that could preclude trying any of the 380 prisoners any time soon.

Army Col. Peter Brownback, the judge, said the military tribunal lacked jurisdiction over Canadian Omar Khadr because he did not meet the strict definition of those subject to trial under a law the U.S. Congress drafted last year.

“It’s not a technicality. It’s another demonstration that the system simply doesn’t work,” said the tribunals’ chief defense counsel, Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan.

The judge said a military review board had labeled Khadr an “enemy combatant” during a 2004 administrative hearing in Guantanamo. But the Military Commissions Act adopted by the U.S. Congress in 2006 said only “unlawful enemy combatants” could be tried in the Guantanamo tribunals.

Brownback said Khadr did not meet that strict definition because there had been no formal proceeding designating him as “unlawful.”

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