I have been involved with the Indiana University McKinney School of Law’s Military Commission Observation Project since 2014. During my time with the project I have observed hearings at Ft. Meade, Maryland and also at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in both the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – 9/11 proceedings as well as the Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Abdu Al-Nashiri – USS Cole case. I look forward to returning to Guantanamo Bay after 3 years.
In New York City
Coincidentally, I am currently in New York City attending the American Bar Association meetings and plan to visit the National 9/11 Memorial site tomorrow.
Guantanamo Hearings Resume After Judge Ordered Halt in Proceedings
As I prepare to attend the hearings and review various materials in order to bring myself fully up to date on the current issues in this case, one issue has garnered a lot of attention in the press. According to the Miami Herald, last month the judge in the case, Army Col. James L. Pohl, suspended all hearings due to a conflict with the base commander regarding sequestration of judges and judicial staff during transit to GTMO, specifically on the boat transportation across the bay at the base in Cuba. The article stated that the judge was concerned when a separate boat for the judicial staff was recently discontinued by the base commander. This change would have required the judge and his staff to be in close proximity to members of the prosecution, defense, media, family members and NGO’s during the trip across the bay from the airport to the portion of the base that houses the military commission facilities at Camp Justice. As a result, according to the article, the judge felt that this could negatively affect the integrity of the proceedings and the independence of the trial judiciary or raise that perception. Earlier this month an arrangement was reached to once again provide separate boat transportation to the judicial staff once they arrive at GITMO and the hearings are set to resume the week of the 19th. This is another example of the unique circumstances and situations that are involved with the location of the Military Commissions.
Charles R. Dunlap, J.D.
Member, Military Commission Observation Project
Program in International Human Rights Law
Indiana University McKinney School of Law