A few months ago, Jack posed an interesting question: Whatever happened to the Periodic Review Board (PRB) system for Guantanamo detainees that the president created in his executive order?
In March 2011, the Obama administration issued an Executive Order (13567) that created a process of Periodic Review of Individuals Detained at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station Pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” The “review and hearing” process was designed to operate on top of the habeas review process and the other internal review processes for GTMO detainees, and to facilitate release of detainees who were not “a significant threat to the security of the United States.” Bobby analyzed the EO here and here, as did Tom Nachbar here.
The EO states: “For each detainee, an initial review shall commence as soon as possible but no later than 1 year from the date of this order” (emphasis added). I have heard little about these reviews since last Spring, and the deadline for their commencement passed last month. Has the administration carried out its pledges under the EO?
In response, I poked around a bit and wrote the following:
While there’s some grumbling in the interagency about the pace at which the Pentagon has proceeded, folks around the Defense Department explain the delay as largely a function–as Jack conjectured–of the NDAA, which required tweaks to the review process.
The Pentagon knew the NDAA was coming, and officials knew that it was likely to contain language requiring changes to the periodic review process. But there were multiple versions of the bill–which differed significantly in what they would and wouldn’t require in the way of changes. The result was that DoD couldn’t finalize anything until the final bill was signed at the turn of the year. And then the procedures had to be altered. The new procedures then had to be vetted through the interagency process, which always involves an extensive back and forth. And the cumulative result was, well, the delay.
At this point, however, I’m told that the Periodic Review Board secretariat has been stood up. And the interagency process has reached agreement on implementation guidelines, which should become public soon.
The implementation guidelines indeed became public a few weeks later. But since then, I haven’t heard much about PRB implementation. So I’m hereby renewing Jack’s question. What’s up with this process? Have there been any PRBs? Are any in the works?