CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, April 3, 2008

War Crime Charges Filed Against Embassy Bomber

From Military prosecutors filed war-crimes charges yesterday against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al Qaeda operative implicated in the simultaneous 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The case makes for another useful lesson in the post-9/11 military commissions process, and ought to provide a measure of justice for the atrocities, which killed more than 200 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands.

Currently incarcerated at Guantanamo, Ghailani procured the truck, TNT, detonators, and oxygen and acetylene canisters that comprised the suicide bomb that destroyed the Dar es Salaam embassy. He scouted for the attack and coordinated between his terror cell and the one in Nairobi. A day before the bombing, Ghailani fled to Pakistan, where he was captured in 2004 following a 10-hour firefight, part of a joint Pakistani-U.S. operation. At least 10 of the conspirators remain at large, including Osama bin Laden.

Ghailani confessed to his role in the plot during a 2007 hearing but claimed he was a dupe, for instance that he thought the TNT was "soap for washing horses." Yet Ghailani continued his service to al Qaeda after the bombing. He worked as an instructor at a terrorist training camp and forged documents, becoming at one point a bin Laden bodyguard. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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