My name is Alexandra Keller and I have been selected to become a non-governmental organization (NGO) Observer for Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP). My authorization has now officially been confirmed by the Pentagon and Program Director to be a first-time observer of the hearings conducted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during January 26 – February 2, 2019 for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Thus, I now begin my observation and documentation.
I am in my third year of law school and will be graduating in May 2019. While pursuing my J.D., I have had the opportunity to extern for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division, as well as an intern for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
I have interests in the federal government, federal law enforcement, and international criminal law, which has led me to taking courses such as Counterterrorism, International Human Rights and International Criminal Law.
I have a deep interest in the interaction between national and human rights issues, including the balance that must be struck between the two. For this reason, I strongly believe in the nature of our mission as NGO Observers to attend, observe, be observed, analyze, critique and report on the conditions and nature of the hearings that occur at Guantanamo Bay to ensure transparency and fair trials for the individuals there.
It is my duty as an observer to be a mechanism for transparency so that the public may better understand the practices and procedures at Guantanamo Bay, as well as to help prevent the occurrence of rights abuses through my honest and factual observations and findings.
To help prepare for my time at Guantanamo Bay, I have been following our checklist, the Miami Herald for updates on past, current and upcoming hearings, reading the Gitmo Observer blog posts, the Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual, the Know Before You Go To Guantanamo Manual,
and have been keeping in touch with my fellow observers past and present. I will continue to research and take notes on the hearings I plan to observe so that I may be completely prepared upon arrival, and so that I may monitor and submit my findings as accurately and clearly as possible.
I am greatly looking forward to this opportunity to help ensure the existence of fair trials at Guantanamo Bay and can think of no greater honor or privilege. I am especially looking forward to communicating with other NGO members about their experiences and missions, being able to communicate the importance of our mission and purpose, as well as provide our materials to them. Before I begin my travels to Andrews Airforce Base, I will submit a blogpost containing an overview of the background information, stakeholders and issues being discussed in the hearings I plan to attend.
Alexandra Keller, J.D. 2019
NGO Monitor, U.S. Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP)
Program in International Human Rights Law
Indiana University McKinney School of Law