COMMENT: For the Sake of Consistency: Distinguishing Combatant Terrorists from Non-Combatant Terrorists in Modern Warfare

Alexander Fraser* 

The prosecution of Irek Hamidullin in an Article III federal court crystallized the result of years of heated debate amongst legal scholars, the military, and, most importantly, the executive branch. For the first time in the history of the United States, a military detainee enemy combatant was brought from Afghanistan to the United States to stand for a criminal trial in an Article III federal court. The defendant, Irek Hamidullin, was a known associate of the Taliban who orchestrated an attack in Afghanistan in November of 2009 and was captured by American forces thereafter. This concept—bringing a foreign combatant terrorist into our country for a criminal prosecution in a civilian tribunal for war-like conduct that took place on a foreign battlefield—has left many people, even federal judges, confused.

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*J.D. Candidate 2017, University of Richmond School of Law. B.S., 2013, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. I would like to thank the University of Richmond Law Review staff and editors, especially Glenice Coombs and Rachel Willer for their assistance. I would also like to thank Professor John Douglass for helping me articulate my arguments and organize them in a logical, persuasive manner. Lastly, I would like to thank Laura Bedson for her impeccable editing skills and suggestions—which gave this piece the clarity that it needed to make sense of this complex legal framework.