HOLDER: I looked at the great work that was done by lawyers from the Department of Defence, the Office of Military Commissions, Department of Justice. I am a prosecutor myself. I've looked at the evidence. I've considered the problems that these cases present. And I am quite confident that we're going to be successful in the prosecution efforts.
If I was concerned about the forum not leading to a positive result or if I had a concern -- a different concern, you know, we would perhaps be in a different place. But the reality is -- and I want to be as assuring as I can -- that based on all of my experience and based on all of the recommendations and the great work and the research that has been done, that I am quite confident that the outcomes in these cases will be successful ones.
QUESTION: If you're saying you're doing this to uphold the rule of law and for the fairness of justice, if you're picking different forums for different defendants based on where you can be sure that the outcome will be a conviction, and using military commissions on those where you're less sure, evidently, how is that fair? How is that legal?
HOLDER: It's not a question of looking at outcome. It's a question of trying to decide exactly where a case is more appropriately brought.
If one looks at what has happened in federal court, we have certainly done and have a great deal of experience with bringing terrorist cases when it comes to cases that violate the wars of law (sic), there's a greater experience, I think, with regard to military commissions.
And so those are among the factors that we take into consideration. We're not looking for outcomes, trying to decide where we can get a better outcome in one case or the other. We look at a whole variety of factors that are contained, as I said, in that -- that protocol that is publicly available, and make a case-by-case determination.
QUESTION: So all five -- just to follow, all five of the ones that are going to military commissions that were decided today, is that because those were military targets, like the Cole, and the 9/11 attacks were primarily civilian targets? Is that the defining characteristic there?
HOLDER: Well, there are a variety of factors that go into it.
Certainly, with regard to the Cole bombing, that was an attack on a United States warship, and that, I think, is appropriately placed into the military commission setting. At least one of the others involves an attack on one of our soldiers.
So that is among the factors that we considered in making determinations as to whether they go into civilian federal courts or the military commissions.
QUESTION: General Holder, there's been some concern among victims and family members of people who perished in the 9/11 attacks that the five being sent to New York for civilian court would not be charged square on with 9/11-type offences; in other words, material support or some lesser offence. Also wondering if you expect all five of those men to go on trial together or whether they would have separate trials.
HOLDER: Well, we are charging them with the most serious offences that are appropriate. And we are, as I indicated, seeking the most serious punishment.
As I said, I expect to ask for the death penalty when it comes to the prosecution of those five individuals. That is, I think, an indication of how serious I view these cases, how consequential their -- how negatively consequential their actions were, and how ultimately they must face the ultimate justice.
QUESTION: Attorney General Holder, coincidentally, the Canadian Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the transfer of Omar Khadr to Canada. The lawyer for Khadr suggested today that Khadr will be transferred to the United States to be tried.
Will Khadr be transferred here for trial? And if the Canadian courts direct the government of Canada to request Khadr to be transferred to Canada, would you consider that request, or would the commission trials here trump that?
Follow us on Twitter: