[JURIST] Advisers to US President-elect Barack Obama [official website] emphasized Monday in the wake of press reports that Obama has not made a decision regarding the future of the military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and its prisoners, despite an earlier Associated Press story [text; JURIST report] that Obama strategists had begun working on a plan to hold criminal trials in US courts for a large number of Guantanamo detainees. Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama, said in a statement [Reuters report] that Obama remains committed to closing the prison, but that he would not reach a decision on how to do so or where to try current Guantanamo detainees until he assembled his legal and national security teams. The Chicago Tribune has more.
A number of human rights groups are publicly seeking the end of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Monday urged [ACLU materials] Obama to not only close the camp, but also to end military commissions [ACLU press release] in favor of trying detainees in traditional US criminal courts or military courts governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice [text]. In a full-page ad in the New York Times [ad, PDF], the ACLU called on the Obama administration to close Guantanamo Bay in order to ensure “that our government will be faithful to the Constitution and to the principles upon which America was founded.” Since opening in 2002, the Guantanamo Bay prison has held more than 750 detainees, all of which have habeas corpus rights according to a ruling [opinion PDF] from the US Supreme Court [official website] this past June.