Prosecutors Struggle to Resume Guantánamo Trials

Prosecutors Struggle to Resume Guantánamo Trials

Military prosecutors struggling to restart war crimes tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in the midst of the pandemic are proposing to transform the crude court compound of tents and trailers into a quarantine zone.

A New York City criminal defense lawyer who this year shared a six-man tent at Camp Justice to observe a session of the case for the American Bar Association likened the prosecution plan to a modification of the way professional sports leagues are resuming games — but on a naval base in Cuba without the testing and medical care, and with greater risk and lawyers in their 60s and 70s.

“In basketball, a guy gets sick they take him out and test everybody twice in 48 hours,” said Joshua L. Dratel, who defended a case at the Guantánamo war court in 2006 and 2007, when lawyers were put up in officers’ quarters. “What if 20 people got sick at Camp Justice? Could the hospital even handle it?”

The proposal for a quarantine starting in September is part of a flurry of efforts by the prosecutors to resume hearings in all four active war crimes cases after a series of setbacks and obstacles — including an adverse court ruling against the prosecution in a rare case of a prisoner who has cooperated with the prosecution.

Source: Pulitzer Center