How to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility

The Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), a partner of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, has released a package of policy recommendations focused on shuttering the Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) detention facility.

Torn American flag flying at Guantánamo Bay.

Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees to the U.S. prison in Cuba, these recommendations offer a set of actionable steps that Congress and the Biden administration can take to not only close GTMO, but also to repair the damage that continued operation of the detention facility has done to the real and perceived commitment of the United States to rule of law values.

The CERL Working Group that produced these recommendations—and a forthcoming report from which they are drawn—is co-chaired by Claire Finkelstein, a professor of criminal and national security law and the faculty director of CERL, and Harvey Rishikof, former convening authority for the commissions and a visiting professor of national security law at Temple University.

“The arrival of the first detainees to Guantánamo on January 11, 2002, ushered in one of the darkest and most ignominious chapters in U.S. history,” says Finkelstein. “Yet 20 years and roughly eight billion dollars later, we still have not achieved justice for the victims of 9/11, and we have tarnished the moral authority of the nation and distorted the rule of law. The CERL Working Group draws together some of the greatest experts in national security law and the law of armed conflict in the country. Its nuanced recommendations provide a path by which the Biden administration can realize its stated goal of closing the Guantánamo Bay prison and restoring integrity to U.S. detainee treatment and policy.”

Of the 13 recommendations, nine call for action from the executive branch and four from Congress.

Read more at Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law.