Chief Guantánamo Prosecutor Retiring Before Sept. 11 Trial Begins

WASHINGTON — The Army general who has led war crimes prosecutions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for a decade is retiring and handing off the trial of the five men accused of conspiring in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to an as-yet unchosen successor.

Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins of the Army served as chief prosecutor for military commissions throughout the Obama and Trump administrations.

His decision to retire came as a surprise because he had obtained an extension to serve in the post until Jan. 1, 2023. Instead, he will retire on Sept. 30, according to a notice sent by Karen V. Loftus, a prosecution staff member, to families of the 3,000 people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Defense officials said a board was likely to be assembled to select a new chief prosecutor, who will be of the rank of Army colonel or Navy captain rather than the rank of a one-star general.

Ms. Loftus called the timing “an ideal window to identify a successor” because proceedings are “finally in view again for all of our cases following the pandemic-driven hiatus.”

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