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Q: What is the periodic review process?
A: The Periodic Review Board (PRB) process is an interagency process designed to review whether continued detention of Guantanamo detainees is necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. The PRB process is established by Executive Order 13567 (EO 13567) and will be conducted consistent with section 1023 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.
Q: Who is responsible for the process?
A: The PRB process is an interagency process. The PRB is made up of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Staff; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.The Department of Defense created the Periodic Review Secretariat (PRS) to administer the PRB review and hearing process. The PRS is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the process, and will coordinate with the agencies involved.
Q: How often will detainees be subject to review?
A: Full reviews of each detainee subject to PRB review, to include hearings, will be conducted every three years. File reviews to consider any new information will be conducted for each detainee subject to PRB review every six months in between full reviews.
Q: What will the PRB consider when assessing whether a detainee can be released?
A: The PRB will consider the threat presented by the detainee, and whether law of war detention remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. In making that assessment, the PRB will be provided with all relevant information in the detainee disposition recommendations produced by the Task Force under Executive Order 13492 on which the government seeks to rely, the work product of a prior PRB, and any relevant information that has become available subsequent to either on which the government seeks to rely. The PRB will also be provided all relevant mitigating information.
Q: What is a “continuing significant threat”?
A: It is a threat to the national security of the United States that cannot be sufficiently mitigated through feasible and appropriate security measures implemented by another country, organization, or entity.
Q: Will the detainee be represented by a lawyer?
A: The PRB process provides the detainee with a personal representative who is responsible for challenging the government’s information and introducing information on behalf of the detainee. The detainee also has the ability to obtain private counsel, at no expense to the government, to assist him in the review process.
Q: How can a detainee challenge the legality of his detention?
A: The PRB process does not address the legality of any individual’s detention under the authority of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as informed by the law of armed conflict. Detainees held at Guantanamo have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and nothing in Executive Order 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.
Q: Will the detainees have access to all of the evidence that will be used against them?
A: The Board will review the relevant information on which the Government will rely related to the detainee’s threat, as well as relevant mitigating information. Much of this will be classified intelligence information. 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 is withheld, the detainee’s representatives and/or private counsel will be given summaries or substitutes of that information that is sufficient to provide the personal representative or private counsel with a meaningful opportunity to assist the detainee during the review process.
The detainee will be provided with an unclassified written summary of the factors and information the PRB will consider in evaluating whether he meets the standard.
Q: Will the detainee be provided with an opportunity to appeal a PRB determination?
A: Once a PRB determination becomes final, there are no appeals. However, with semi-annual file reviews and regular full reviews, the detainee will have ample opportunity to regularly present his case before the PRB.
Q: Will transcripts of PRB proceedings be made available to the public?
A: The Department of Defense anticipates posting a transcript of unclassified portions of each hearing.