Obama to Revive Terror Tribunals

Handful of New "Rights" Promised to Detainees

Last updated 5/15 1:45 PM EST

In January, President Obama signed an executive order calling for a 120 day halt to all legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Coupled as it was with a pledge to close the controversial facility, it was generally assumed that this was the end of the dubious system of justice through military tribunal. As that 120 days nears a close, it appears that critics of the Bush Administration have yet another reason to express exasperation with the Obamaite mantra of “change.”

The president is now confirming that the tribunals will soon resume, with only a handful of cosmetic changes affording the detainees a modicum of control over their legal counsel and certain as yet unspecified restrictions on hearsay evidence.

The move was not a complete surprise, as sources inside the administration had been confirming the discussion for over a week. Yet the move and the decision by House Democrats to pull funding for the base’s closure suggest that the planned closure is unraveling on several fronts.

The move seems sure to draw further criticism from opponents of the system of extra-legal detentions, at a time when many are already complaining about the administration’s reversal yesterday on the release of detainee photos.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.