Gitmo Detainee Review Process to Start Next Week
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 23, 2004 Navy Secretary Gordon England detailed today the process he has devised to review the cases of each enemy combatant now held at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
England said these reviews will determine whether the detainees remain a threat to the United States and its allies and must be kept detained or released. There are about 595 detainees in the detention facility at Guantanamo.
DoD began holding detainees at Guantanamo in January 2002. To date, some 147 detainees have been released.
England's review begins an annual effort. He said this will be a deliberate and a thoughtful process. "It'll be a balance between the security needs of our nation and the human rights of the individuals currently detained at Guantanamo Naval Base," England said during a Pentagon news conference.
The review process will consist of a number of boards, each with three military officers, who will recommend decisions to England. "These boards will be supported by military officers who will assemble facts on each of the detainees from all agencies of the U.S. government," he said. "Another group of officers will work exclusively with each of the detainees to compile and present to the review board any facts from the detainee or from his home country."
The detainee himself will be able to personally appear before the board. "The intent of this approach is to make all information about the detainee available to the board, so that fact-based determinations can be made -- specifically, whether to release the detainee, release him to his home country with conditions, or to continue to detain the person at Guantanamo," England said.
The boards will begin early next week.
DoD has solicited input from nongovernmental organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the American Bar Association, England said.
The secretary has also briefed congressional leaders on the process. "In similar fashion, we've met with and requested input from the Department of State, Department of Justice, CIA and the Department of Homeland Security," he said.