From the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/military-tribunal-for-hicks-illegal/2006/06/30/1151174342318.html) The US Supreme Court has ruled that the military commissions set up by the Bush Administration to try prisoners, including David Hicks, at Guantanamo Bay are illegal and must be abandoned. In a major blow to the Administration the five-to-three decision of the court said the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war had to be applied to proceedings against all prisoners at Guantanamo. With Chief Justice John Roberts excusing himself from hearing the case because he had ruled in favour of the Administration's position when he was in the Federal Court, the court ruled that the Bush Administration's position that prisoners held at Guantanamo and elsewhere are illegal combatants and not covered by the Geneva Conventions is unconstitutional. The decision threw the Administration into turmoil; it means it is back to square one in terms of setting up a system to try prisoners that complies with the conventions. It means that at the very least, the Pentagon will have to set up standard courts martial for prisoners, with all the protections afforded them under US law. It is not clear what the Administration's response will be or how long it will take for it to set up military courts martial to try prisoners, such as Hicks, who have already been charged with offences that may not be valid under Geneva rules. Hicks has been at Guantanamo for more than four years and is one of eight prisoners who have been charged with specific offences. The court ruled the Administration had the right to detain the prisoners held at Guantanamo, but said if they were to be tried, it had to be through regular courts martial with all the legal protections and access to US courts that this confers. The Australian Government has supported the Bush Administration's position on the military commissions that have now been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, and is now faced with the prospect of Hicks remaining in detention at Guantanamo with no prospect of a hearing for a year or even longer.