The unusual case of David Hicks is one of the most spectacular and politically supercharged miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Like the infamous Boer War case of Breaker Morant, Hicks was politically scapegoated and grossly denied a fair trial. Unlike Morant – a war criminal who murdered prisoners of war – even Hicks’s accuser, the United States, never claimed that Hicks had hurt anybody or plotted to harm civilians. No wonder his military lawyer, Michael Mori, felt ‘ripped off’ getting Hicks, after being told he would be defending the ‘worst of the worst’. Whereas the young Australian government demanded answers from Britain about Morant’s trial, the Howard government repeatedly urged US military commissions to prosecute Hicks.
Ben Saul is Professor of International Law and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney. Ben has expertise on terrorism, human rights, armed conflict, the use of force, international crimes, the environment, and the United Nations. He is the author of Defining Terrorism in International Law (OUP, 2006), lead co-author of The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Commentary, Cases and Materials (OUP, 2014), and editor of Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism (2014). He has published twelve books, eighty scholarly articles, and his research has been used in numerous courts. Ben has taught at Oxford, The Hague Academy of International Law and in China, India, Nepal and Cambodia, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard. He practises as a barrister, has advised United Nations bodies, governments and NGOs, and often appears in the media. He has a doctorate from Oxford and honours degrees in Arts and Law from Sydney.
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