The track record of the Guantanamo detention program “can be summed up quite simply: five years, zero convictions.” More than 770 captives have been held there and just 10 have been charged with crimes.
But in an interview today with the Associated Press, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “blamed delays in trying terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay on legal challenges filed by their lawyers“:
“It’s not for lack of trying,” Gonzales said, when asked about the legal fate of detainees who have been held at the military facility, in some cases for five years. “We are challenged every step of the way.”
“We are trying as hard as we can to bring these individuals to justice,” he said.
The administration has been challenged because they have been operating under a shadow system of justice. During past hearings, the government “called no witnesses, withheld evidence from detainees and usually reached a decision within a day as it determined that hundreds of men…were ‘enemy combatants.’” The Supreme Court rejected these tribunals because they “were neither authorized by federal law nor required by military necessity, and ran afoul of the Geneva Conventions.”
If President Bush had simply followed the law, these trials could have happened years ago.