The Guantanamo Bay detention facilities and U.S. Military Commissions were intensely discussed at a panel hosted by the Indiana University School of Global and International Studies.
Panelists spoke about the rationale and feasibility for closing Guantanamo’s detention facilities, how the international community views Guantanamo and its trials, insights from a journalist who has covered Guantanamo Bay since the first detainees arrived in January 2002, and measuring whether all Guantanamo Bay stakeholders’ human rights are being afforded to them.
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who was Vice-Chair of the 9-11 Commission, discussed the US government rationale for the shutting down of Guantanamo Bay and the difficulties in effecting such closure, from a Washington perspective. He described political and logistical challenges to a rapid closure.
Ms. Carol Rosenberg, who is Senior Correspondent for The Miami Herald, was in Guantanamo Bay to witness the January 2002 arrival of the first group of approximately 20 detainees, who were housed in “Camp X-Ray” wearing iconic bright orange prison. Ms. Rosenberg spoke about the history of the detention facilities, and its past, current and future challenges. She further elaborated on her perspective as a journalist assigned to the Guantanamo Bay.
Professor Leila Sadat, of the Washington University School of Law, is Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow, Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and the Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the ICC Prosecutor. She provided a perspective on how the international community, outside of the U.S., views Guantanamo Bay and its Military Commissions.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland (former) Lee Feinstein, who is Founding Dean of the School of Global and International Studies, provided perspective given his many years of diplomatic and international law public experience and research. Dean Feinstein moderated the panel.
Professor George Edwards is founder of The Gitmo Observer, which is also known as the Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP) of Indiana University McKinney School of Law. Professor Edwards spoke on “Assessing Human Rights Protections for All Guantanamo Bay Stakeholders, Not Just the Rights of the Defendants”.
Professor Edwards descried how he founded the Indiana University McKinney Law School’s Program in International Human Rights Law, and how the Pentagon’s Convening Authority selected that program to be granted non-governmental observer status to permit it to send representatives to Guantanamo Bay to monitor hearings in person, or to Ft. Meade to monitor via secure video feed. Professor Edwards created then created the Military Commission Observation Project, which is now known as The Gitmo Observer. He talked about The Gitmo Observer’s most recent project, the Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual, which those who monitor the Guantanamo Bay proceedings and process use to determine whether a fair trial is being held.
The panel was held at the University Club, at the Indiana Memorial Union, with a reception that followed in the Faculty Room.