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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

How to close GITMO detention center?

Sep 16th, 2008 Uncategorized

Here are excerpts of a wire service report from today:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Bush administration has intensified efforts to send more security detainees from Guantanamo Bay to their own countries but hopes are very dim of closing the prison by year-end, senior U.S. officials say.

A host of legal and practical problems have stalled moves to close the controversial prison at a U.S. naval base in Cuba, which opened in January 2002 to house terrorism suspects caught in President George W. Bush's declared war against terrorism.

Of about 255 detainees now in Guantanamo, government agencies say 60 to 80 face special military tribunals. About 60 are in the process of being sent back to their own countries. The future of the remaining 115 or so is uncertain as there is not enough evidence to charge them and they are deemed too dangerous to send home.

* * *

Both candidates — Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama — want it closed.

* * *

There is no resolution on what to do with Guantanamo detainees who are neither charged nor returned home.

Matthew Waxman, a former senior Defense and State Department official who dealt with detainee policy, said options included finding a way to prosecute them either via the military commissions or U.S. courts, or just to continue to detain them at Guantanamo.

Another was to send them to a third country, to their own country or to transfer them to the United States.

How do we close the detention center at GITMO, given that both candidates say it must be closed?  Given the legal prohibition on repatriating people to countries that will torture them, surely some prisoners will be left that the military considers too dangerous to simply release and that we can not send away.  For a variety of reasons, I believe that we should try as many of the remainder as possible in our regular criminal courts.  But, surely, there will be some individuals who can not be tried in federal district court without revealing invaluable sources and methods, even with the classified informtaion procedures act.  Thus, I believe that some few must be tried by military commissions.  But, I hope that their number will be few.

What do you think, and why?

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One Response to “How to close GITMO detention center?”

  1. Daniel says:

    A regular criminal court may end up as a court of last resort. But why not a specialized criminal court of the sort proposed by Mukasey?
    (In the interest of full disclosure, I am cheating since I just took Prof. Snyder’s course last semester.)

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