US President Barack Obama on March 7 issued an executive order allowing military commissions for Guantánamo Bay detainees to resume. New charges in the military commission system have been suspended since shortly after Obama took office in 2009. The new order also establishes a procedure for establishing a review process for detainees who have not been charged, convicted or designated for transfer. In a statement, Obama said:
From the beginning of my Administration, the United States has worked to bring terrorists to justice consistent with our commitment to protect the American people and uphold our values. Today, I am announcing several steps that broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions, and ensure the humane treatment of detainees. I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system—including Article III Courts—to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened. Going forward, all branches of government have a responsibility to come together to forge a strong and durable approach to defend our nation and the values that define who we are as a nation.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the order, calling provisions for more process for Guantánamo detainees “window dressing for the reality that today’s executive order institutionalizes indefinite detention, which is unlawful, unwise and un-American.”
From Jurist, March 7. Used with permission.