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Military judge orders overseer of Gitmo cases replaced

FORT MEADE — A military judge is ordering the Pentagon to replace the overseer of war crimes tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Air Force Col. Vance Spath made the ruling Monday. He found that the current convening authority, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary, exceeded his discretion by requiring Guantanamo judges to focus on those cases, to the exclusion of other military cases.

Spath declared illegal a rule that was meant to accelerate the Guantanamo cases. He said it would make people wonder if judicial decisions were made in the interest of speed, not justice.

The Defense Department approved the rule in November, along with one requiring judges to live at the U.S. naval base. The Pentagon rescinded the latter requirement last week, but let the exclusivity rule stand.