White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said the Obama administration does not consider accused terrorist Dzhokar Tsarnaev to be an enemy combatant and that he will be tried in civilian court.
“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant,” Carney said during today’s afternoon briefing. “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.”
Carney indicated Attorney General Eric Holder made the call and that the administration’s national security officials support him.
The decision to not treat Tsarnaev, a U.S. citizen, as a war prisoner means he will be entitled to the legal protections of the U.S. justice system, which are more robust than what he would have faced under military justice.
Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.