Programs established in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks – including the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program – have provided much needed financial and medical help to those who suffered because of the events of that tragic day.

As effective and essential as these programs have been, one thing they cannot provide victims is justice and accountability for those who perpetrated these acts of terror. Though a recent court ruling has allowed a lawsuit brought by 9/11 victims against Saudi Arabia for its role in the attacks to proceed, most efforts at justice for 9/11 have involved the use military force in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

This includes military trials against accused members of al-Qaida who have been captured and are being held at Guantanamo Bay. One of the accused terrorists, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, had filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him claiming that he should not be subject to a military trial. He argues that the United States was not at war with al-Qaida before 9/11, and since the acts he is accused of – helping the hijackers with finances and travel arrangements before the attacks – all occurred before 9/11, a military trial is not appropriate.

Hawsawi’s motion raised and turned on one essential question: when did the war against al-Qaida start? A military judge recently provided his answer to the question, when he issued a ruling denying the motion to dismiss. The judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, wrote that it is “unnecessary to decide a date certain for the commencement of hostilities” and that for the purposes of this ruling, armed conflict between the United States and al-Qaida existed “as of September 11, 2001, and for an indeterminate period before that date.”

Pohl’s ruling that the U.S was at war with al-Qaida before 9/11 relied on the fact that Congress and two presidents said so. Specifically, President George W. Bush created military commissions after the attacks, later reformed by President Barack Obama, in an act which, as Pohl notes, “contemplates prosecution for offenses occurring ‘on, before or after Sept. 11, 2001,’ ”  As such, it is irrelevant when exactly the war started because “before” extends indefinitely.

Hawsawi and four other defendants were arraigned on May 5, 2012, but no trial date has been set and no jury of U.S. military officers to sit on a jury have yet been selected. We will continue to monitor this case and all other efforts to hold the perpetrators of 9/11 accountable for their acts.

Turley Hansen & Rosasco: 9/11 Victim Compensation Attorneys

Supporting 9/11 victims has been the sole mission of Turley Hansen & Rosasco since shortly after the World Trade Center fell. Our extensive experience and deep commitment to 9/11 victims has resulted in the recovery of over $75 million in 9/11 victim compensation on behalf of over 1,200 clients.

To learn more about how we can help you get the resources and compensation you need, please contact Turley Hansen today and request a FREE CLAIM REVIEW with one of our experienced 9/11 lawyers. Call 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) today. We look forward to assisting you.