Indiana University McKinney Law Students Assist Guantanamo Bay Stakeholders

Guantanamo Bay -- Indiana McKinney Law School - The Gitmo Observer - Proposed Rights Project - Autumn 2014 - George Edwards (1)

Handout on Indiana McKinney Law Gitmo Observer Research Project

Indiana McKinney Law Student Guantanamo Bay Gitmo Observer Project

During the Autumn 2014 semester, Indiana University McKinney School of Law students will research domestic and international rights to be afforded to stakeholders in the U.S. Military Commissions being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The research will be published as part of the Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Checklist.

Professor George Edwards, who has incorporated this project in his International Criminal Law class stated: “The Indiana McKinney law students in my class will help all Guantanamo Bay stakeholders understand what their rights are. We care about the rights of victims and victims’ families, rights of the prosecution, rights of the media, rights of defense and prosecution, and rights of other stakeholders. International and domestic law provide that all stakeholders are entitled to the right to a fair trial at Guantanamo”.

The project is being conducted by The Gitmo Observer, which is the name given to the Military Commissions Observation Project (MCOP) of the Program in International Human Rights Law (PIHRL) of Indiana University McKinney School of Law.

Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Checklist

The Gitmo Observer will provide a resource (e.g., The Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Checklist) to assist all Guantanamo Bay stakeholders, particularly those seeking to ascertain whether fair trial rights are being afforded to all. Gitmo Observer representative travel to Guantanamo Bay will facilitate research and contact with different stakeholders who may use Gitmo Observer materials for informational, reporting, advocacy or other purposes.

Indiana McKinney Law Professor George Edwards on a US Military C-17 flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (June 2014)

Indiana McKinney Law Professor George Edwards on a US Military C-17 flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (June 2014)

The IU McKinney Law Team, operating under the banner of The Gitmo Observer will:

  1. Identify relevant, binding sources of domestic and international law that provide for rights in the U.S. Military Commission context;
  2. Identify specific provisions of binding international and domestic law that address rights in U.S. Military Commission cases, specifically for such cases at the pre-trial hearing stage;
  3. Research rights of all stakeholders, including defendants, the prosecution, victims & victims’ families, media, witnesses, the public & other stakeholders, and examine NGO Observer roles and access;
  4. Research interpretation of international and domestic law rights provisions;
  5. In the interests of retaining The Gitmo Observer objectivity, refrain from concluding whether aspects of the Military Commissions violate international or domestic law, unless reasonable legal conclusions can be drawn—on discrete issues—based on easily and readily accessible public information.

The Gitmo Observer Team will research a selection of the rights listed below:

  1. Resource Allocation
    1. Equality of Arms (resources available to prosecution v. defense)
  2. Time and Facilities to Prepare a Defense
    1. Right to Adequate Facilities to Prepare a Defense
    2. Right to Adequate Time to Prepare a Defense
  3. Information
    1. Access Right to Unclassified Information
    2. Access Right to Classified Information
    3. Use of Classified Information Against the Defense
  4. Delay
    1. Right to Prompt Judicial Proceedings
    2. Right to Trial Without Undue Delay, Within a Reasonable Time, or to Release
  5. Right to Public Proceedings
  6. Right to be Present at Pre-Trial Hearings
  7. Representation Rights
    1. Right to be Defend Oneself
    2. Right to Counsel
  8. Right to Examine and Cross-Examine Witnesses
  9. Rights of Victims & Victims’ Families
  10. Rights of the Prosecution
  11. Rights of the Press
  12. Rights of Witnesses
  13. Rights of the Public / Community
  14. NGO Observer Roles & Access



  1. Rights to Interpreter / Translator
  2. Humane Treatment
    1. Freedom from Torture, & Cruel, Inhuman Treatment or Punishment
    2. Right to Humane Conditions of Detention
    3. Freedom from Incommunicado & Solitary Confinement; Right to Access to the Outside World
  3. Right to Presumption of Innocence
  4. Right to Freedom from Self Incrimination
  5. Right to Review of Lawfulness of Detention
  6. Other Rights
Salam Almarhoon, Chuck Dunlap, Tim Button, Megan Alvarez, Kristi McMains, and Clarence Letherbury

IU McKinney Affiliates (students and graduates) Salam Almarhoon, Chuck Dunlap, Tim Button, Megan Alvarez, Kristi McMains, and Clarence Leatherbury at Ft. Meade, Maryland. NGO Observers may view Guantanamo Bay by secure video-link direct from the Cuban courtroom.

In 2014, The Pentagon granted the Indiana McKinney MCOP “NGO Observer Status” for the MCOP to send representative to Guantanamo Bay to attend, observer, analyze, critique and report on U.S. Military Commission hearings and trials. IU McKinney faculty, staff, students and graduates may represent the MCOP at Ft. Meade where the Guantanamo proceedings are simultaneously broadcast from Guantanamo Bay, or may represent the MCOP on trips to Guantanamo Bay where the representatives may monitor from the Military Commission courtroom.

Professor George Edwards founded the Gitmo Observer, the MCOP & the PIHRL.

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Twitter @GitmoObserver


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