A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay is so chaotic that it is impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution.
Vandeveld, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the lead prosecutor against Jawad until he asked to be relieved of his duties last year, citing a crisis of conscience. He said the case has been riddled with problems, including alleged physical and psychological abuse of Jawad by Afghan police and the U.S. military, as well as reliance on evidence that was later found to be missing, false or unreliable.
Vandeveld said in a phone interview that the “complete lack of organization” has affected nearly all cases at Guantanamo Bay. The evidence is often so disorganized, he said, “it was like a stash of documents found in a village in a raid and just put on a plane to the U.S. Not even rudimentary organization by date or name.”
He said the evidence was scattered throughout databases, in desk drawers, in vaguely labeled containers or “simply piled on the tops of desks” of departed prosecutors.
“I further discovered that most physical evidence that had been collected had either disappeared” or had been stored in unknown locations, he said.