March 07, 2011
New Guantanamo Executive Order a “Step in the Right Direction”
Washington, DC – Human Rights First is calling today’s executive order establishing a periodic adversarial review process for detainees held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay a step in the right direction. Even so, the organization is cautioning that the Obama Administration must now focus its attention on efforts to transfer those Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared for release and prosecute in federal courts those for whom there is evidence of criminal conduct. In reaction to the announcement, Human Rights First’s Devon Chaffee stated: “This Executive Order is a step forward, providing some additional process to detainees that have been languishing for years in Guantanamo without charge. Any continued scheme of indefinite detention poses a serious threat to fundamental rights and is no substitute for criminal justice. It is, therefore, encouraging that the order is strictly limited to addressing the problem the Obama Administration inherited at Guantanamo, rather than creating new detention problems. The administration also rightly announced its support for two of the additional protocols to the Geneva conventions thereby strengthening norms that protect victims in international and non-international armed conflict. The Senate should swiftly respond to the administration’s announcement and advise and consent to the ratification of these protocols.” “Separately, the administration announced that it will allow new charges to move forward in the flawed military commissions system. Moving forward with new military commissions without pursuing additional civilian court trials of Guantanamo detainees will leave untapped what the President has repeatedly deemed to be one of the government’s most powerful, proven tools in combating terrorism—regular U.S. federal courts.” To speak with Chaffee, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323 or [email protected].