Beyond the Court of Public Opinion: Military Commissions and the Reputational Pull of Compliance Theory

Keith A. Petty
U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps

The decision to prosecute the suspected co-conspirators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in either a federal courtroom or by military tribunal has reached a critical juncture. Central to this debate is whether the military commissions are consistent with domestic and international standards of justice. Utilizing the analytical framework of compliance theory, which seeks to answer why States comply with the rule of law, this article discusses the U.S. reputation for compliance in the context of the revised military commissions.

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