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Obama Administration Pledges Support for Civilian Terror Trials

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged the Obama administration’s support for using civilian courts for trials of alleged terrorists and working within the United Nations to combat terrorism.

“We have learned in the most painful of ways that our security interests are intertwined, and that our counter-terrorism efforts must be as well,” Holder said today at the opening of a counter-terrorism symposium at the UN in New York. The U.S. is committed to “strengthening the capacity of civilian courts around the world, which have time and again shown their effectiveness.”

President Barack Obama’s administration this year reversed its plan to put the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. and his alleged conspirators on trial in civilian court in New York. The administration agreed to send the case to a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after lawmakers restricted the administration’s ability to bring detainees to the U.S. for trial.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used today’s meeting to announce the creation of the first UN global center for counter-terrorism, to be established in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said his government would contribute $10 million to the center, and that 60 nations have agreed to participate in its formation and work.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at wvarner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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