Tribunals Held for High-Value Detainees at Guantanamo
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2007 Administrative tribunals were held March 9 and 10 for three of the 14 high-value detainees being held at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Defense Department announced today.
Combatant Status Review Tribunal proceedings were held March 10 for Khalid Sheik Mohamed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Bryan Whitman, Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. March 9 proceedings were for Abu Faraj al-Libi, an alleged senior member of al Qaeda, and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, who is said to have helped Mohamed plan the Sept. 11 attacks.
Combatant Status Review Tribunals are one-time administrative processes used to determine whether detainees at Guantanamo Bay can be designated as enemy combatants. The proceedings last week were the beginning of the process, so decisions haven’t been made about the detainees’ status, Whitman said.
Not all of the three detainees chose to participate in the CSRT proceedings, which give the detainee a right to a personal representative and the right to receive an unclassified summary of evidence in advance of the hearing, he said. He did not specify which detainees did or did not participate.
The CSRTs for the 14 high-value detainees, who were transferred Sept. 6, 2006, to Guantanamo Bay from CIA custody, are not open to media because of national security concerns. Edited transcripts will be made available soon after the proceedings end, Whitman said.
The U.S. government established the CSRT process at Guantanamo Bay as a result of a June 2004 Supreme Court decision in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden who challenged his detention at Guantanamo Bay. Between July 2004 and March 2005, DoD conducted 558 CSRTs at Guantanamo Bay. At the time, 38 detainees were determined to no longer meet the definition of enemy combatant, and 520 detainees were found to be enemy combatants.