The Pentagon approved my nomination to travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to monitor the case against Hadi al Iraqi, and alleged high level member of al Qaeda who was purportedly a liaison with the Taliban. As a representative of the Indiana University McKinney School of Law’s Military Commission Observation Project, my job was to attend, observe, analyze, critique and report on Hadi al Iraqi’s hearings. My hearing dates were scheduled for 26 February to 3 March 2017.
I recently received an e-mail from Professor George Edwards (founder of IU McKinney’s Guantanamo Project) indicating that the Pentagon had cancelled Hadi al Iraqi’s hearings for that week. I felt somewhat disappointed because I was really looking forward to attending the hearing and further contributing to IU McKinney’s Guantanamo Bay work.
Prior to the cancellation, I could not stop talking about it with friends and former classmates. I even called my younger sister and she had no idea why I was interested in attending such hearing. I talked her ears off about who the defendants were and the crimes they had been accused of. I tried to share with her about international crimes, criminal justice, the rule of law, and the importance of transparency in proceedings such as this. I understand that those selected to monitor such proceedings play a very important role in human rights for all stakeholders in these military commission proceedings.
I remain hopeful that I will be able to monitor hearings of other defendants in March, either at Ft. Meade or Guantanamo Bay.
Johanna Leblanc, J.D., Indiana University McKinney School of Law
Observer, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Military Commission Observation Project
Program in International Human Rights Law
Indiana University McKinney School of Law