The Department of Defense today released a draft administrative review process memorandum. This draft memorandum would establish an administrative review process to reassess at least annually the need to continue to detain each enemy combatant in the control of the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
In this process, each enemy combatant would have an opportunity to explain before an administrative review board of three military officers why he should no longer be detained. Specifically, he would be permitted to explain why he is no longer a threat to the United States and its allies in the ongoing war against on terrorism. The enemy combatant would be assigned a military officer to assist him in presenting this information to the review board. The detainees government and his family would also be permitted to provide information regarding the detainee under review.
The global war on terror, including efforts to dismantle the al Qaeda organization, its affiliates and its supporters is ongoing. Enemy combatants are detained at Guantanamo Bay to prevent them from rejoining that conflict. For this very practical reason, the law of war permits the detention of enemy combatants for the duration of the conflict. It permits this detention without the use of a review process. Nonetheless, the Department of Defense has decided as a matter of policy to institute this review process. In conjunction with the other review processes already in place, this will further assist the Department of Defense in evaluating the need to continue to detain those in its custody at Guantanamo Bay.
The draft administrative review process memorandum is available on DefenseLINK at http://www.dod.mil/news/mar2004/d20040303ar.pdf. It is important to note that these procedures are not final. Also, as the memorandum notes, many of the provisions must be subject to the need to protect national security.Accordingly, the department anticipates that the procedures may become more robust over time.
Those wishing to submit comments regarding the draft administrative review process memorandum should fax comments to the Office of General Counsel of the Department of Defense at (703) 614-6745. The Department of Defense intends to finalize and publish the memorandum in a few weeks.