On March 23, Professor Mark Denbeaux and Research Fellows from the Seton Hall University School of Law Center for Policy & Research had the unique opportunity to meet with staff members of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
The Subcommittee is conducting a retrospective, in-depth study of Guantánamo detainee transfers and outcomes, with a view toward issuing a report later this year. The staff of the Committee invited Professor Denbeaux and the Research Fellows in light of the Center’s work on detainee release, transfer, and recidivism, as well as its involvement in detainee representation.
In anticipation of the meeting with the Center, the staff members sent Professor Denbeaux an overview of their objectives:
We plan to assess the government’s past and present policies, procedures, and practices for determining detainees’ eligibility for transfer or release, including how security risks and country assurances were determined. We also plan to examine how transfers and releases were implemented and determine, to the extent possible, what happened to detainees after they left Guantanamo, including any re-engagement in terrorist-related activities.We hope to be able to identify lessons learned from past detainee transfers and make recommendations for improving transfers in the future.
At the meeting the students presented the Committee with information regarding its profile of detainees, a profile of detainees who have been released, the evidentiary basis for their release, and thoughts about the procedure for determining whether to release them.
In accordance with the Committee’s timeline, the Center will concentrate on three projects: an updated profile of all released detainees, including the allegations against each detainee; a survey of all released detainees to determine their reintegration into civilian life; and a study of allegations made in habeas cases.
The habeas project reviews allegations, findings of fact and legal holdings at the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, District Court and Court of Appeals levels.
The project then compares the government’s allegations at each level, specifically contrasting the allegations against those released with those still detained in an attempt to determine what evidence is considered sufficient to support further detention or release.