Recommendation to the President
Please write a 3 page recommendation to the President on what he should do in response to the following scenario. Explain why you believe your recommendation is the
best course of action.
Mr. President, we are currently holding Abu bin Al-Baghdadi in the Guantanamo naval detention facility. Based on intelligence information, as well as his own
confession during interrogation, Al-Baghdadi was the operational commander for al Qa’eda from 2003 until his capture in Iraq in June 2005. We believe he was personally
responsible for a series of bombings against Shi’a believers that killed more than 1100 persons. He is also implicated in a series of attacks on US and allied forces
that resulted in the death of 26 service men and women. He has also admitted to participating in the abduction and subsequent beheading of 3 UN aid workers in May
Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, little could be used in court since his admissions of guilt were extracted using harsh interrogation techniques that
make such statements inadmissible. Recent rulings regarding submission of evidence in military tribunals make it extremely likely that they would also be ruled
inadmissible in that venue, as well. While we do have other evidence, including email and voice communications, revealing in open court how such evidence was acquired
would reveal to the enemy the extent of our intelligence ability and would, according to both the NSA and the CIA, shut down these channels for future collection.
We have requested the government of Iraq that Al-Baghdadi be transferred to Iraq and that he be tried there by Iraqi courts. They have refused on the grounds that his
very presence in Iraq could set off sectarian violence.
Although the Geneva Conventions allow a state to hold someone as a prisoner of war until such time as the conflict is resolved, it is unlikely that the conflict with
al Qa’eda will be resolved anytime soon and that holding Al-Baghdadi as a POW is tantamount to indefinite detention and is already being challenged by a number of
civil rights organizations. We need to make a policy decision how we handle Al-Baghdadi. Whatever your decision, it is likely to have broader ramifications for the 163
prisoners currently held in Guantanamo.
I recommend that ————–
Recommendation to the President
Summary of recommendation
I recommend that you do not release Al-Baghdadi from U.S custody given the grave danger that he poses to both the U.S and the Iraqi citizens. Although the U.S does not have an admissible body of evidence that can allow the suspect to be tried in open court, it is important that a tribunal be constituted to examine the evidence against Al-Baghdadi. This tribunal should be composed of security experts from the major security agencies such as the CIA, NSA and FBI in order to determine whether the suspect should be tried and convicted. After the evidence has been reviewed and deemed sufficient, the suspect should be arraigned before a special court where he shall face charges and be convicted if found guilty. It is vital that the suspect be tried by means of a special tribunal because of the sensitive nature of the suspect’s crime and the methods used by intelligence agencies to gather evidence of Al-Baghdadi’s crimes. The government should also create special tribunals where such evidence is admissible and can be used to build a case against dangerous terror suspects.
Broader policies to be implemented
The government should create a legal framework for detaining high risk terror suspects, while allowing them to have legal counsel as the state builds a case for the suspects to be tried before the special tribunal created above. A legal framework for detaining terror suspects indefinitely is important for the sole purpose of imprisoning terror suspects such as Al-Baghdadi who cannot be allowed back into society. However, the legal framework should have loopholes that allow innocent suspects to be freed once proven innocent based on the numerous cases reported of innocent detainees being held for many years at Guantanamo Bay prison. The issue of the admissibility of available evidence to build cases against terror masterminds such as Al-Baghdadi should be enshrined in the legal framework of the tribunal in order to allow members to examine and use evidence collected through methods that may not be admissible in the normal courts. The activities of the tribunal should be under the oversight of a national security sub-committee that reports directly to the committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president to ensure the integrity of its activities.
The importance of the tribunal and established policies
The key reason for constituting the special tribunal is based on the understanding that some of the suspects detained at prisons such as Guantanamo are too dangerous to be allowed back into society, but they cannot be charged mostly because of a lack of admissible evidence. Therefore, the special tribunal would allow such individuals to face the full legal consequences of their actions, while ensuring the continued covert operations against terror groups. Civil rights groups and other groups opposed to such measures point at the fact that if a suspect is guilty, they should be arraigned publicly in court in order to receive justice. However, the ineffectiveness of this type of trial has been proven over time as suspects charged in open court have been released because of insufficient evidence only to commit bigger crimes. Therefore, the government cannot take chances with the worst terror suspects by trying them before a grand jury that may be unaware of the grave danger such suspects pose to the country and the world (Dershowitz, 2014). In most cases, the intricacies of the threat posed by terror suspects would be lost on a grand jury resulting in poor sentencing or in guilty suspects being freed.
Overall implications of the policies
The creation of a special tribunal to try hardcore terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay would signify that the U.S is acknowledging the significant threat to global peace posed by such suspects and the extreme measures that must be taken to remove the threat. The policies also indicate that the U.S has accepted that the war on terror is a never-ending war and that Maybe Guantanamo Bay might never be closed despite the government’s best intentions. The special tribunal will allow the governments to legally detain terror suspects such as Al-Baghdadi who have caused significant human suffering, but cannot be charged in open court. The tribunal would also enable the government and other stakeholders to have a unique oversight role by monitoring the activities of the tribunal and ensuring that the tribunal follows the set guidelines. The most significant advantage of the creation of the tribunal and a law that allows the tribunal to try terror suspects is that these measures create laws in an area of international security that has operated outside the law for a very long time. The policies also create room for improvement of the capture and detention process of terror suspects as well as the way such individuals are tried.
In conclusion, I believe that the formation of a tribunal enshrined in American and international law to try hardcore terror suspects is long overdue and that the measures proposed here are just the beginnings of a new phase in the global fight against terror. It is expected that these recommendations shall be opposed by groups fighting for greater transparency in the trial of terror suspects. However, these measures are integral to the nation’s security and global peace, which makes it crucial that they be implemented immediately.
Dershowitz, A. M. (2014, September 16). Detentions of war: How can US keep terror suspects with no hope of trial, but espouse due process? Retrieved from http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/09/15/should-suspected-terrorists-like-those-held-guantanamo-detained-without-trial/9N2ERaZn75mSSZX67F6rFK/story.html