- Guantanamo Closure Matter of Biden's Political Will as Few Legal Obstacles Remain - Lawyer
Guantanamo Closure Matter Of Biden's Political Will As Few Legal Obstacles Remain - Lawyer
Faizan Hashmi 8 days ago Thu 08th April 2021 | 08:00 PM
US President Joe Biden's administration faces only a handful of insignificant legal obstacles should it wish to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, Michel Paradis, a senior attorney at the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik in an interview, adding that the deciding factor is likely to be the new government's "political will" to resolve the notorious prison facility's future
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th April, 2021) US President Joe Biden's administration faces only a handful of insignificant legal obstacles should it wish to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, Michel Paradis, a senior attorney at the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik in an interview, adding that the deciding factor is likely to be the new government's "political will" to resolve the notorious prison facility's future.
The Biden administration, which assumed office in January, has launched a formal review of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters in February that Biden is intending to close the facility before the end of his presidency.
Paradis noted that the justification for maintaining the facility rests on the US government's Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolution of 2001, which gives the government the power to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against those who participated in or helped plan the attacks.
"The government's position has historically been that detaining prisoners who are aligned with the enemy is a traditional incident of warfare and therefore it is necessary and appropriate to use the language of the statute, under the existing law," Paradis, who has represented several Guantanamo Bay detainees, said.
The Department of Defense lawyer also said that there were no legal obstacles preventing the US government from transferring detainees to third countries, despite the enactment of statutes "every year" forbidding the use of state funds to move prisoners to the US mainland.
"There are no legal obstacles to the president transferring individuals in Guantanamo to other places, third countries, and that has been the norm ... the throughput of Guantanamo has been about 800, and there are 40 today, so do the math, 760 men have been released, with one exception, all to third countries," Paradis said.
"Legally, there are very few obstacles to closing Guantanamo, a few but they're not significant. Politically and practically, that's really just a question of political will," he said.
Approximately six of Guantanamo Bay's 40 current inmates have already been approved for release, Paradis said, adding that 12 detainees are in "various stages" of the military commissions process.
"So, does the Biden administration have the political will to find safe places to send 22 people? That's half a school bus, that's not a lot of people. They certainly should and they certainly could. Ultimately though, Guantanamo issues have never been driven by practicality and that's unfortunate, but I think that is the inevitable truth of the politics of the situation," the lawyer said.