The US has ordered diplomats abroad to justify seeking death penalty for 6 Gitmo detainees by recalling the executions of Nazi war criminals.
The unclassified cable is written in a question-and-answer format in anticipation of inquiries that diplomats may get from foreigners about the Pentagon’s Monday announcement of the trial and charges.
In the four-page cable sent by the State Department to all US diplomatic missions worldwide late on Monday, the US state department advises American diplomats to refer to Nuremberg as a historic precedent if asked by foreign governments or media about the legality of capital punishment in the 9/11 cases.
“International Humanitarian Law contemplates the use of the death penalty for serious violations of the laws of war,” says the cable.
“The most serious war criminals sentenced at Nuremberg were executed for their actions,” it adds.
The cable makes no link between the scale of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and those allegedly committed by the Guantanamo detainees.
It also comments on the issue that that the key suspect, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sep. 11 attacks was subjected to interrogation tactics that critics call torture.
The cable instructs diplomats to tell foreign governments that the tribunal will not accept evidence obtained through torture and that the decisions will be up to the judge.
Twelve of Adolf Hitler’s senior aides were sentenced to death at the International Military Tribunals in Nuremberg, Germany, although not all were executed in the end.