A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Senate minority leader criticizes closure of Guantanamo without plan for detainees

[JURIST] US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) [official website] said [press release] Tuesday that the Obama administration doesn't have a plan to deal with detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] once the facility closes. McConnell, speaking before the Senate, called the facilities at the military prison "safe and secure" and said that the administration "doesn't know what to do with" the 240 detainees currently being held there. He called on US President Barack Obama to prove that closing the prison made America safer and cited a Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] report [text, PDF] that many former detainees had committed terrorism after being released. He said:

The administration needs to tell the American people what it plans to do with these men if they close Guantanamo. Two years ago the Senate voted 94-3 against sending these killers to the United States. Foreign countries have thus far been unwilling to take them in any significant numbers. And even if countries were willing to take them, there’s an increasing probability that some of these murderers would return to the battlefield.
In January, Obama issued an executive order [text; JURIST report] directing the military prison be closed "as soon as practicable and no later than one year from the date of this order." In February, US Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the military facility would be closed despite improvements [JURIST report] and an official report [JURIST report] finding that conditions at the prison are now in compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Last month, top US officials met with European counterparts to discuss the transfer [JURIST report] of many of the detainees to other countries before the facility closes. The European Parliament called on its member countries to accept [JURIST report] Guantanamo detainees, and Lithunia, Ireland, Germany, and Portugal [JURIST reports] have expressed willingness to accept them. A spokesperson for the DOD said in January that the US would not change its policy [JURIST report] on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Saudi Arabia, despite reports that two former prisoners have joined al Qaeda in Yemen.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.