U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.This is a welcome first action by the President and sends strong message that the injustices that were such a decisive and pervasive component of the Bush administration are to be ended.
Military judges were expected to rule on the request on Wednesday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an official involved in the trials said.
The request would halt proceedings in 21 pending cases, including the death penalty case against five Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Prosecutors said in their written request that the halt was "in the interests of justice."
The proceedings at Guantanamo were seen world wide as unjust due to the torture of prisoners there, holding of prisoners without due process, detention of child prisoners, and the lack of access to the prisoners by family, press, and legal representation. The fiction that the prisoners were not on US soil and therefore not covered by US law but rather by military law, and that the prisoners were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, all conspired to reinforce the world's opinion that President George Bush is a war criminal.
President Obama's move to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay is welcomed by all who love justice and human rights world wide.