Sunday, October 26, 2008
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct. 25 -- The Air Force is investigating a top official in the Guantanamo war crimes trials following complaints that he inappropriately sought to influence the prosecution of cases, military officials said Saturday.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann supervised the prosecution of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the legal adviser of the military commissions, until he was reassigned last month.
Air Force Maj. David Frakt, who has represented several Guantanamo detainees, said he and others alerted authorities to possible ethical violations by Hartmann.
Frakt said that he informed his superiors in July of concerns regarding Hartmann's "unprofessional conduct" and "lack of candor." The investigation, he advised, could result in professional sanctions and might give some detainees grounds to challenge actions that Hartmann took in cases against them.
"I'm hopeful that it will result in some accountability for his actions," Frakt said of the probe. "He has not learned the lesson. He believes that he has been promoted from legal adviser and continues to be overly involved in prosecution matters."
Hartmann was appointed director of operations, planning and development for military commissions in September. The move took him away from direct supervision of the prosecution.
Two judges previously barred Hartmann from acting as legal adviser for a lack of impartiality.
A spokesman for the Office of Military Commissions confirmed the investigation by e-mail but declined to give further details.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Defense Department Office of Inspector General has launched a separate probe into Hartmann's conduct.