Department of Defense

Are you going to Guantanamo? New Manual Excerpts for NGO Observers & Others

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Click this link for the full Manual — over 500 pages. Below you can download the Manual Excerpts!

If you’re going to Guantanamo Bay in January 2017, you might be interested in our new Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual: Excerpts that offers insights into:

  • what the right to a fair trial is and how a fair trial should look
  • how to assess whether a fair trial is being afforded to all Guantanamo stakeholders
  • roles & responsibilities of independent Observers sent to monitor Guantanamo hearings
  • background info on Guantanamo the military commissions
  • a schematic of the courtroom (so you can know who is who)
  • and a 76 page “Know Before You Go To Guantanamo” insert that will tell you what to expect on your flight to Cuba, the ferry ride across Guantanamo Bay from the landing strip to your Quonset Hut accommodations, base security, food (which can be quite good!), beach, boating, and of course the courtroom, the hearings, and briefings by the prosecution and defense.

In the past, the Gitmo Observer (of Indiana University McKinney School of Law) distributed Manual Excerpts to Observers after we arrived at Andrews Air Force on the morning of our flight to Cuba (or distributed at Ft. Meade, Maryland, for Observers monitoring live by secure video-link from Cuba). Observers said they wish they had had it earlier.

So, we started to e-mail the Manual Excerpts to Observers as soon as we were sent e-mail addresses of Observers scheduled to travel, and we would receive those e-mails 3 – 6 days before the scheduled departure. Observers said that they wish they had it even earlier than that, that 3 – 6 days in advance wasn’t enough time.

So now we are posting the Manual Excerpts on this site, for access by anyone interested, whether or note traveling to Guantanamo Bay (or Ft. Meade or elsewhere), but especially for those traveling to Guantanamo Bay to monitor 3 weeks of January 2017 hearings. Ideally, about 40 independent observers would travel to Gitmo this month, to fill all the slots allocated to observers.

The Defense Department has stated that it favors strong and robust transparency. Having full complements of Observers for each hearing week would help promote transparency, human rights, and the rule of law for all military commission stakeholders (with stakeholders including the defense, the prosecution, victims and their families, witnesses, the media, observers, observer escorts / minders, the public, the U.S. soldiers and others who operate the detention facilities, the military commission court staff, and others).

Here are the Excerpts! Please let us know if you have any suggestions for improving our Excerpts, our full Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual (over 500 pages in 2 volumes!) and our Know Before You Go To Guantanamo Guide (76 pages). Send to GitmoObserver@yahoo.com

Defense Department Says Guantanamo Prisoner Released After Periodic Review Board (PRB)

Today, 11 July 2016, 2 Guantanamo Bay detainees were released from their Cuban prison and sent to Serbia for humanitarian settlement. The State Department announced this prisoner transfer, as did the Department of Defense announcement of today’s transfer of 2 detainees to Serbia. Please compare today’s State Department announcement the the Defense Department announcement below:DoD-logo-resize

Detainee Transfers Announced

07/11/2016 09:05 AM CDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-260-16
July 11, 2016

Detainee Transfers Announced

July 11, 2016

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Muhammadi Davlatov and Mansur Ahmad Saad al-Dayfi from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Serbia.

As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Davlatov was unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.

On Oct. 28, 2015, a Periodic Review Board consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of al-Dayfi does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, al-Dayfi was recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board. The Periodic Review Board process was established by the president’s March 7, 2011 Executive Order 13567.

In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States’ intent to transfer these individuals and of the secretary’s determination that these transfers meet the statutory standard.

The United States is grateful to the Government of Serbia for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Serbia to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

Today, 76 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

More information on the Periodic Review Secretariat can be found here: http://www.prs.mil/.

For more information on Periodic Review Boards, please check the Periodic Review Board (PRB) Project website or The Gitmo Observer.