WASHINGTON: A Pentagon official who sought to move military judges to Guantanamo Bay to speed up slow-moving trials of al Qaeda suspects is resigning, the Defense Department has said.
Retired Marine Corps Major General Vaugh Ary, who sparked a judicial rebellion as overseer of military tribunals at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, will be replaced on an interim basis by Paul Oostburg Sanz, the general counsel of the Navy Department, the Pentagon said in a Wednesday statement.
As convening authority, Ary had crafted an order relocating three judges to the remote base indefinitely to speed up trials, including those of five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The order stripped the judges of other duties and was signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work in January. The judge in the Sept. 11 case halted proceedings until the order was lifted, saying it was “unlawful command influence.”
Work reversed his order in late February.
In a memo obtained by the Miami Herald, Ary said the tribunals he oversaw met for just 34 days in 2014, at a cost of $78 million.
Oostburg Sanz was interim convening authority and the interim director of the Office of Military Commissions from March 20, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014, the Pentagon said.