Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CRS Report on Closing GTMO

The BeSpacific blog linked to a new Congressional Research Service report discussing legal issues surrounding the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The report's conclusion reads:
[T]he closure of the Guantanamo detention facility may raise complex legal issues, particularly if detainees are transferred to the United States. The nature and scope of constitutional protections owed to detainees within the United States may be different from the protections owed to those held elsewhere. The transfer of detainees into the country may also have immigration consequences. Criminal charges could also be brought against detainees in one of several forums—that is, federal civilian courts, the courts-martial system, or military commissions. The procedural protections afforded to the accused in each of these forums may differ, along with the types of offenses for which persons may be charged. This may affect the ability of U.S. authorities to pursue criminal charges against some detainees. Whether the military commissions established to try detainees for war crimes fulfill constitutional requirements concerning a defendant’s right to a fair trial is likely to become a matter of debate, if not litigation. The issues raised by the proposed closure of the Guantanamo detention facility have broad implications. Executive policies, legislative enactments, and judicial rulings concerning the rights and privileges owed to enemy belligerents may have long-term consequences for U.S. detention policy, both in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban and in future armed conflicts.