March 7, 2011, New York – In response to the Obama administration’s announcement today that it has ordered the Department of Defense to lift a stay on new charges in military commissions, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
"Today’s executive order creating a periodic review board for certain Guantánamo detainees and the reopening of flawed military commissions for business does nothing other than codify the status quo. The creation of a review process that will take up to a year – designed to be repeated every four years – is a tacit acknowledgment that the Obama administration intends to leave Guantánamo as a scheme for unlawful detention without charge and trial for future presidents to clean up, despite the fact that senior officials acknowledged today that keeping the prison open continues to hinder our national security in the long run.
"Barack Obama campaigned and began his presidency with a pledge to shut down Guantánamo, support federal trials for terrorism suspects, respect human rights and restore the rule of law. Guantánamo and the military tribunal system are no longer an inheritance from the Bush administration – they will be President Obama’s legacy."
Legal experts and Guantánamo attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights are available for comment on the reopening of the military commissions to new charges and President Obama's executive order establishing a periodic review process.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last nine years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA “ghost detention” to Guantanamo. CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to resettle the approximately 30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.
March 7, 2011