The Administrative Review Board is a United States military body that conducts an annual review of the suspects held by the United States in Camp Delta in the United States Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The purpose of the Board is to review whether the suspects still represent a threat. American President George W. Bush initially called the suspects "illegal combatants." But, without a formal announcement of the policy change, the Bush Presidency changed their description to "enemy combatant". From July, 2004 through March, 2005 military authorities conducted a one-time Combatant Status Review Tribunal for each suspect, to confirm whether they had been properly been classified as an "enemy combatant".
The Combatant Status Reviews were criticized by human rights workers because the suspects were not entitled to legal counsel, and did not know what allegations they had to defend themselves against, and the suspects had no presumption of innocence. The ARB was created in an attempt to mitigate the harsh results of potentially indefinite detention by allowing an annual review to determine whether the enemy combatant should still be detained.
The Combatant Status Reviews determined that 38 suspects were not illegal combatants after all. They determined that the rest of the suspects had been correctly classified as "enemy combatants" during their original, secret, classifications.
As of September 2005 there were approximately 500 suspects in Camp Delta.
The first set of Administrative Reviews took place between December 14, 2004 and December 23, 2005. The Boards met to consider the cases of al 463 eligible detainees. They recommended the release of 14 detainees, and the repatriation of 120 detainees to the custody of the authorities in their home countries.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) was under a court order from United States District Court Judge Jed Rakoff to release the names of all the detainees by 6:00 p.m. EST on March 3, 2006. The Department of Defense ("DOD") did not meet this deadline. They delivered a CDROM with approximately 5,000 pages of documents at 6:20 pm. DoD had to take that CDROM back and issue a second copy that with redacted files that DoD decided not to release.
Some of the factors listed in favour of continued detention for some detainees were repetitions of allegations that had already been refuted during the detainee's Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
In early September 2007 the Department of Defense published additional documents from the second set of Review Board hearings convened in 2006.
The Department published ten portable document format files. Less than twenty percent of the remaining captives participated in their hearings. The Department only published transcripts of the hearings for which captives chose to participate.
Very few of the Review Board hearings were observed by the members Press. Adam Brookes of the BBC wrote, on April 8 2005, about being allowed to sit in on the first Administrative Review Board hearing where observers were permitted. He wrote that over sixty Review Board hearings had been convened with no Press attendance.
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