EU says US must provide more information before members take Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer [official profile, in Czech] Thursday expressed reservations [press release] about hosting Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees without first examining potential safety and security implications. The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating European Presidency [Czech presidency website]. After meeting with the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council [official website], Langer explained that while the decision to accept Guantanamo detainees is within the hands of each member nation individually, any decision to do so will affect all member nations due to the EU's lack of internal border controls. In pursuit of greater transparency, an EU delegation is set to visit Washington DC between March 16-17 [AP report] in order to view the files of the 60 inmates [JURIST report] set for release in the coming year. During the visit [IHT report], the delegation will examine the basis for US determinations that certain detainees are eligible for release, the decision of the US not to allow any of those detainees to remain within the US, the reasons why the detainees are unable to return to their home countries, and any potential security risks to the EU. They will also look into various forms of compensation offered by the US.

The European Parliament encouraged EU member nations [JURIST report] to accept former Guantanamo prisoners soon after President Obama ordered the closure of the detention center [JURIST report] last month. Spain, Ireland, and Portugal [JURIST reports] have expressed their willingness to host detainees. Poland [JURIST report], Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic [Financial Times report] have expressed strong reservations to doing so.

 

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