Heritage’s Cully Stimson Testifies Before Senate Judiciary on Guantanamo Bay

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Heritage’s Cully Stimson Testifies Before Senate Judiciary on Guantanamo Bay

December 13th, 2021

A group of detainees kneels during an early morning Islamic prayer in their camp at the U.S. military prison for "enemy combatants" on October 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. John Moore/Getty Images

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Cully Stimson, deputy director of Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, testified at the Dec. 7 hearing.

Stimson formerly served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs under the George W. Bush administration and coordinated the Pentagon’s global detention policy and operations, including at Guantanamo Bay.

In his testimony, Stimson said the real injustice is that Congress and the Biden administration remain fixated on where the enemy should be kept rather than on how best to incapacitate non-state actors lawfully for the long war against terrorism.

Stimson had five main points in his opening statement.

“First, the United States remains in a state of armed conflict. As such, we are entitled, under domestic and international law, to detain opposing enemy forces for the duration of hostilities, including the terrorists at Guantanamo.

“Second, the terrorist detention facility at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba, is a safe, secure, humane detention facility for law of war detainees, and is and has been in compliance with Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions.

“Third, the president has wide discretion as commander-in-chief to decide where to detain opposing enemy forces, how long to detain them, and whether and when to release and transfer them during an ongoing armed conflict.

“Fourth, the debate over closing Guantanamo has been overtly political. Guantanamo remains open today because of the lack of political courage to close the facility.

“Fifth, to close Guantanamo in a responsible manner, the administration must focus on the legal, logistical, political, and diplomatic challenges, and then spend the political capital and show courage to get it done.”

Watch the full hearing here.