Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Guantánamo Bay Closure Discussed

David Remes, adjunct professor in the government department, shared his experiences as a legal representative for Guantánamo Bay detainees and his thoughts on the prospect of the detention camp’s closure in Copley Formal Lounge on Tuesday at “The Future of Guantánamo,” an event sponsored by the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security.

Remes criticized President Obama’s administration and the slow evaluation system that used a task force to review detainees’ cases. Jan. 11 was the eighth anniversary of the opening of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, and exactly one year ago, Obama pledged to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center within one year.

“The Obama administration has made a lot of mistakes along the way,” Remes said. “Instead of taking a diplomatic approach – concluding an agreement with another country – he has installed a system that structured to review profiles of individuals, which has significantly slowed the process.”

Obama has succeeded in transferring 42 prisoners overseas, which Remes claimed was not a good record for a president who made closing Guantánamo Bay a signature issue.

Remes also deliberated whether the United States has the legal authority to detain the prisoners.

“For six-and-a-half years, every day, people were held in jail when the authority that held them was questionable. In that respect, the government won,” Remes said. “Yet, for the past year, the court heard 41 cases, out of which prisoners won 32 cases. It is a pretty good track record.”

Remes said that many of the men detained at Guantánamo Bay are political victims of domestic conflicts in their own countries.

“People are caught all over the world. It is important to understand that [the United States] had apprehended only 5 percent of men in Guantánamo,” Remes said. “[The United States] had paid rewards of $500 per head. These men were scooped up by the wrong people with wrong reasons, in my opinion.”

He later dispelled rumors that 20 percent of people who are released from Guantánamo Bay return to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

A Q-and-A session followed the lecture.

“It was helpful and fascinating to hear from somebody who has a real experience [with] the stories that I had only read through articles and books,” Alisha Crovetto (COL ’10) said.

“Georgetown is very fortunate to have someone like David Remes come and teach,” said Catherine Lotrionte, assistant director for LSGS, in her introduction of Remes. “Georgetown has been committed to social justice and human rights . David Remes cares for the same thing.”

Remes was a lawyer for Covington & Burling for 25 years; last year, however, he decided to leave his life-long workplace to devote himself to human rights litigation and representing detainees of Guantánamo Bay.”

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