March 7, 2011
President Orders Review of Guantanamo Detainees
President Obama today issued an executive order providing for "periodic review of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force."
The move suggests that the White House won't achieve its goal to close down Guantanamo anytime soon.
The new periodic review process applies only to those 172 individuals currently detained at Guantanamo and subject to the interagency review process in 2009. Under the process, detainees may present a written or oral statement to the review board, introduce relevant information including written declarations, answer any questions posed by the review board, and call witnesses who are reasonably available. Each detainee gets a "personal representative" and a right to independent counsel (not at government expense).
The EO explicitly grounds authority for the new process in the Authorization for Use of Military Force and explicitly subjects detention at Guantanamo to the Convention Against Torture, Geneva Conventions Common Article 3, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, "and other laws relating to the transfer, treatment, and interrogation of individuals detained in armed conflict." It also explicitly recognizes detainees' right to habeas corpus.
The EO sets this standard for continued detention:
Continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee subject to the periodic review . . . of this order if it is necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States.
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