The Department of Defense announced today the formation of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This tribunal will serve as a forum for detainees to contest their status as enemy combatants.
Detainees held at Guantanamo Bay will be notified within 10 days of their opportunity to contest their enemy combatant status under this process. The tribunal process will start as soon as possible. Detainees will also be notified of their right to seek a writ of habeas corpus in the courts of the United States. Habeas corpus is a writ ordering a person in custody to be brought before a court.
An individual tribunal will be comprised of three neutral officers, none of whom were involved with the detainee. One of the tribunal members will be a judge advocate and the senior ranking officer will serve as the president of the tribunal.
Each detainee will be assigned a military officer as a personal representative. That officer will assist the detainee in preparing for a tribunal hearing. Detainees will have the right to testify before the tribunal, call witnesses and introduce any other evidence. Following the hearing of testimony and other evidence, the tribunal will determine in a closed-door session whether the detainee is properly held as an enemy combatant. Any detainee who is determined not to be an enemy combatant will be transferred to their country of citizenship or other disposition consistent with domestic and international obligations and U.S. foreign policy.
This tribunal does not replace the administrative review procedure announced earlier this year.
The order establishing the tribunals and a DoD Fact Sheet are available at: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jul2004/d20040707review.pdf http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jul2004/d20040707factsheet.pdf