The July 2015 session of the Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi court hearings began Wednesday morning, 22 July 2015, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. This session was scheduled to last until Friday, 31 July 2015. After about three hours of legal argument this morning, the court recessed the hearings without setting a new hearing date/time.
At approximately 9:00am, the judge took the bench and began the proceedings. The judge noted that the prosecution, defense, and he had conducted a number of conferences since the court was last in session. These hearings were not on the record and were conducted by telephone.
In reviewing these conferences, the judge noted that the parties had agreed to cancel prior hearings and instead address the pending legal issues during the 20 July – 31 July court hearings. The judge indicated that holding one longer hearing would be more efficient than conducting multiple smaller hearings to resolve these issues.
Sunday, 19 July Conference
The judge stated one such hearing took place last Sunday, 19 July. During this hearing, one of Hadi’s attorneys informed the judge that the prosecution gave the defense, just two hours prior, information indicating that one member of the defense team may have a conflict of interest. At that time, the court delayed the start of the proceedings from Monday, 20 July until Wednesday, 22 July. However, after approximately three hours of argument morning of 22 July, the court recessed the hearings again so that the defense team could further investigate the potential conflict of interest issue.
Thursday, 23 July Ruling
On Thursday, 23 July, the court conducted another hearing with the parties off the record. The other Observers and I were notified afterwards that the court ruled that no additional hearings would be heard during the current court session. Therefore, even though the court hearings were scheduled to last until 31 July, no other hearings in the case would occur during this timeframe. As the court order will not be available online for approximately two weeks, I have not yet reviewed the document for information that may provide insight regarding the court’s rationale beyond what was said in court.
The case is next set for hearings 21 September – 25 September.
Preparing to Leave
Based upon this court order, the media, the Observers (including me), and others involved with the military commission process began preparations to depart Guantanamo Bay a week early. We originally planned on leaving on August the first, but since there were no more court hearings, it was time to head home.