Re:Guantanamo-We Need Alternatives for Dealing With Terror Suspects

Posted by Ken Gude, Associate Director, International Rights and Responsibility Program, Center for American Progress

More than four years have already been wasted and we are now no closer to a trial of any of the detainees at Guantanamo than we were the day it was opened. In Hamdan v Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court ruled that nothing would prevent using the rules and procedures of courts-martial for trials at Guantanamo. At the very least, we could use courts-martial to finally bring some of our enemies to justice. But even that would only be a partial solution and applicable to a small number of detainees.

Another alternative would be to work with our closest allies to create a Special Tribunal for International Terrorist Suspects in order to share the responsibility and burden of detaining, trying, and imprisoning terrorists. This Tribunal should build on the experiences of previous tribunals that have handled some of the most serious threats to international peace and security and should adopt the procedures for courts-martial.

The debate about the future of Guantanamo has lacked legitimate and substantive alternatives. Supporters of the prison refuse to accept that it is a liability and insist that the status quo must be maintained. Opponents are quick to call for its closure, but often fail to take into account the difficult and unique challenges of detaining and putting on trial terrorist suspects. This Special Tribunal addresses each of those challenges with practical policy solutions and presents a concrete alternative to the fatally flawed policy President Bush has pursued on detainees.

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