Liberty and Security: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress

In 2008, NACDL joined a diverse coalition of leading human rights and national security advocates to present then President-Elect Obama with a catalogue of key policy recommendations on some of the most complicated national security issues facing the county.  The catalogue includes a blueprint for closing the prison camps at Guantánamo Bay, ending secret detentions, extrajudicial “extraordinary renditions” and torture, as well as prosecuting terrorism suspects in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

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The catalogue, “Liberty and Security: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress,” is a blueprint for the Obama administration, and many of its suggestions were included in President Obama’s recent executive orders, but there is still much work to be done.

Highlights of the issues addressed in the paper include: (1) closing the prison facilities at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — how and why; (2) ending secret detentions, extrajudicial “extraordinary renditions” and torture; and (3) prosecuting terrorism suspects in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

NACDL strongly opposes “national security court” proposals, as do the rest of the coalition members. The association’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution providing that individuals accused of involvement with terrorist activity should be prosecuted in the federal court system; however, NACDL believes that individuals accused of violating the Laws of War as unprivileged belligerents should be charged and prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, consistent with the Geneva Conventions.

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