Guantanamo — Administration Resumes Military Commissions

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 — The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion today announced the con­clu­sion of its review of detainee poli­cies at Naval Sta­tion Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, and will resume mil­i­tary com­mis­sions there.
“We are announc­ing that we will go for­ward with new com­mis­sions cas­es,” a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said.

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma issued an exec­u­tive order today that says detainees held with­out a tri­al will go before a Peri­od­ic Review Board with­in a year to have their cas­es assessed. 

The board is to include rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department. 

The order also requires the attor­ney gen­er­al and defense sec­re­tary to assess whether pros­e­cu­tion is still fea­si­ble and in the country’s nation­al secu­ri­ty interests. 

In a back­ground call with reporters, senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials said the announce­ment is con­sis­tent with Obama’s goals of reform­ing the detainee process and of clos­ing the Guan­tanamo Bay deten­tion facility. 

“This con­tin­ues the effort our admin­is­tra­tion has had since our ear­li­est days in office,” an offi­cial said. “We’re con­tin­u­ing the president’s effort to pros­e­cute and bring ter­ror­ists to jus­tice that is con­sis­tent with our val­ues and nation­al security.” 

Pros­e­cu­tions will fol­low the reg­u­la­tions of the 1949 Gene­va Con­ven­tion on the rights of pris­on­ers of war, an offi­cial said. “This is not about who our ene­mies are, but about who we are: a nation com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing its detainees with humane treat­ment,” he said. 

While con­tin­u­ing to reform the detainee process, anoth­er offi­cial said, the admin­is­tra­tion also will work with for­eign gov­ern­ments to extra­dite detainees, and will try to over­turn con­gres­sion­al imped­i­ments to have some tried in fed­er­al civil­ian courts. The end goal remains to close the deten­tion facil­i­ty at Guan­tanamo Bay, which remains a recruit­ing tool for ter­ror­ists, they said. 

No detainees will be released in the Unit­ed States, they said, not­ing that 67 have been trans­ferred since the facil­i­ty opened in 2002. 

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued state­ments today say­ing they sup­port the changes, and Gates rescind­ed his Jan­u­ary 2009 order sus­pend­ing the fil­ing of new mil­i­tary com­mis­sion charges. 

“I issued the pri­or order to per­mit the new admin­is­tra­tion time to con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive review of the sta­tus of each Guan­tanamo detainee,” he said. “That review is now complete.” 

Like oth­er admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials, Gates said it is impor­tant to retain the right to pros­e­cute detainees either in mil­i­tary com­mis­sions, or in fed­er­al civil­ian courts. 

“In addi­tion to bring­ing detainees to jus­tice in reformed mil­i­tary com­mis­sions, I believe it is impor­tant that we main­tain the option of pros­e­cut­ing alleged ter­ror­ists in fed­er­al courts,” he said. “For rea­sons of nation­al secu­ri­ty, we must have avail­able to us all the tools that exist for pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty, and pro­tect­ing our nation. For years, our fed­er­al courts have proven to be a secure and effec­tive means for bring­ing ter­ror­ists to jus­tice. To com­plete­ly fore­close this option is unwise and unnecessary.” 

In his state­ment, Mullen also not­ed his sup­port for the resump­tion of mil­i­tary com­mis­sions for Guan­tanamo detainees, and the con­tin­ued use of fed­er­al courts to try alleged terrorists. 

“I believe the nation­al secu­ri­ty threat posed by ter­ror­ism is real and per­sis­tent,” he said. “And I believe it is incum­bent upon the Depart­ment of Defense to con­tribute fair­ly to the process of bring­ing these indi­vid­u­als to jus­tice. That out­come is best achieved by a full range of judi­cial options.” 

Gates not­ed that the Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions Act of 2009 led to sev­er­al key reforms in the detainee process, and anoth­er admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said those reforms will con­tin­ue no mat­ter where tri­als are held. 

“The mil­i­tary com­mis­sions process reform is some­thing the pres­i­dent has made a com­mit­ment to,” he said. “So reforms and pros­e­cu­tions will remain, irre­spec­tive of where detainees are held. This is some­thing we’ve achieved and think we should move for­ward on.” 

The admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials said Oba­ma remains com­mit­ted to four goals he out­lined dur­ing a 2009 speech at the Nation­al Archives:
— to bring detainees to jus­tice in pros­e­cu­tions in either fed­er­al civil­ian courts, or mil­i­tary com­mis­sions;
— to com­ply with court-ordered releas­es of detainees;
— to trans­fer detainees from Guan­tanamo when­ev­er pos­si­ble to do so safe­ly and humane­ly; and
— when nei­ther pros­e­cu­tion or oth­er legal options are avail­able, to hold detainees in law­ful mil­i­tary detention. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →