updated 7/18/2005 1:06:51 PM ET 2005-07-18T17:06:51

Military trials of two terror suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay will be resumed “as soon as possible,” in light of a court ruling against a detainee who challenged the system, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday.

Rumsfeld did not name the two but two other officials said later they are David Hicks, an Australian accused of having fought alongside the Taliban regime against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni whose challenge to the legality of the trial system was initially upheld but was overturned Friday by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Rumsfeld said more details would be provided later in a written statement.

At a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Rumsfeld applauded the court ruling and said it would help expedite the military trials, which are criticized by some as unfair .

“The court’s ruling marks an advance in the global struggle against extremists and aids the effort to protect innocent life,” he said. “It vindicates the president’s determination to treat suspected terrorists humanely but not to grant them the protections of the Geneva Conventions as a matter of right.”

As a result of the ruling, the Pentagon also will prepare charges against eight other individuals held at the detention compound in Cuba, Rumsfeld said. It was his first public remarks on the subject since the ruling Friday. Those eight, whose names have not been released, had previously been declared eligible for trial by military commissions, but no charges have yet been filed against them.

Rumsfeld also said more detainees at Guantanamo Bay — beyond the four who have been charged and the eight who are about to be charged — would be declared eligible for trial by military commissions. He did not say how many more.

The Pentagon says there are about 520 terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

Last week’s ruling, applauded earlier by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, overturned a lower court ruling that had suspended the trials.

Rumsfeld did not name the two individuals whose trials will be resumed, but he referred to one as a person who “served as a personal body guard and driver for Osama bin Laden.” That description would fit Hamdan, the Yemeni whose legal counsel said after Friday’s ruling against him that they intended to appeal it further.

The defense secretary declined to explain why only two trials would be resumed. Four trial proceedings had been started last summer before the court ruling that halted them.

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