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Periodic Review Secretariat
U.S. Department of Defense
Periodic Review Secretariat
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About the PRB
Subsequent Full Review
The Periodic Review Board
The Periodic Review Board (PRB) process is a discretionary, administrative interagency process to review whether continued detention of particular individuals held at Guantanamo remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. This Periodic Review Board (PRB) process was established by the President’s March 7, 2011 Executive Order (EO) 13567 and will be conducted consistent with section 1023 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal Year 2012.
The PRB includes a cross-section of the national security community. The PRB decision-making panel consists of one senior official from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The PRB process does not address the legality of any individual’s detention under the authority of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, as informed by the laws of war. Detainees have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention, and nothing in EO 13567 or its implementing guidelines is intended to affect the jurisdiction of federal courts to determine the legality of their detention. If, at any time during the PRB process, material information calls into question the legality of detention, the matter will be referred immediately to the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General for appropriate action.
The PRB will consider the threat posed by each detainee under review. In particular, the PRB will be tasked with determining whether law of war detention remains necessary to protect against a "continuing significant threat to the security of the United States." In making this assessment, the Board will be given access to all relevant information in detainee disposition recommendations that have been produced by the Guantanamo Review Task Force (established by EO 13492), the work product of any prior PRB, and any additional relevant information that has become available. The PRB may also consider diplomatic considerations or security assurances related to the detainee's potential transfer, the detainee's mental and physical health, and other relevant information. The PRB will also receive and take into account all mitigating information relevant to whether the detainee poses a continuing significant threat. The PRB will not rely on information that has been obtained as a result of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.
The PRB process is intended to assist the executive branch in making informed decisions as to whether detainees held at Guantanamo Bay should remain in law of war detention. Informed decision-making will be aided by providing detainees an opportunity to participate in the process as appropriate. To this end, detainees will be provided an unclassified written summary of the information considered by the PRB and will be permitted to respond with statements written by themselves and witnesses. Detainees will also be afforded the opportunity to appear before the PRB via video or telephone conference. Detainees may request the presentation of testimony at the hearing by witnesses who are reasonably available and willing to offer relevant and material information regarding whether continued law of war detention is warranted.
In every PRB proceeding, the detainee will be provided with a uniformed military officer (referred to as a personal representative) to assist the detainee during the PRB process. The detainee's personal representative will have the security clearance necessary to review the information provided to the Board and will be responsible for advocating on behalf of the detainee, challenging the government's information, and introducing information on behalf of the detainee. The detainee will also have the ability to obtain private counsel, at no expense to the government, to assist the detainee in the review process.
The detainee's personal representative will receive full access to the information considered by the PRB, except in the rare instances where doing so would put the national security at risk. Any private counsel for the detainee possessing an appropriate security clearance will also receive access to the information the PRB considers, except in the exceptional circumstances above, or where necessary to protect law enforcement or privilege concerns. In cases where information considered by the PRB is withheld from a detainee's personal representative and/or private counsel, substitutes or summaries of the withheld information will be provided. The PRB will ensure that any such substitutes or summaries of information are sufficient to provide the personal representative or private counsel with a meaningful opportunity to assist the detainee during the review process.
Full reviews of each detainee, to include the hearings described above, will be conducted every three years. File reviews will be conducted for any detainee whom the PRB has determined that continued detention is necessary every six months in between full reviews, and will focus on any new information or changed circumstances that the PRB should consider.
The PRB can recommend continued law of war detention or recommend a detainee's transfer, including establishing the conditions for transfer. A Review Committee will conduct a review of the PRB's determination if: (1) a member of the Review Committee seeks review within 30 days of the PRB's determination, or (2) the PRB cannot reach consensus. The Review Committee is composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Once a PRB determination becomes final, the detainee may not appeal. However, with semi-annual file reviews and periodic full reviews, the detainee will have a continuing opportunity to regularly present to the PRB any new and relevant mitigating information.