Paul Tauber is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy GTMO Task Force. On February 24, 2016, the Task Force published a report calling on the United States to fairly and transparently expedite the Guantánamo trials by putting federal judges in charge.
In presenting a plan to close GTMO, President Obama lamented that the military cases being tried there “have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution.” Justice would be swifter and surer, he suggested, if detainees could be prosecuted in federal courts.
The GTMO Task Force recognized that trying detainees on U.S. soil is enormously contentious. Their report argues that the United States could achieve a similar result – and avoid a political impasse – by simply bringing federal judges to Guantánamo.
In 2013, the Pacific Council was granted official NGO observer status at the Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO), joining a group of organizations, including the American Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association and Amnesty International, that have the privilege of sending a representative to observe proceedings at GTMO.
Paul traveled to GTMO in February 2016 as a civilian observer on behalf of the Pacific Council to observe a week of hearings in the US v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He also observed a week of pretrial hearings in February 2015. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, and stands trial along with four others. Since 2013, the Pacific Council has sent 17 members to the Guantánamo proceedings as official nongovernmental observers; together, they have spent nearly 100 days on the island.
Paul’s GTMO assignment follows the lead of the late William (Bill) Coblentz, who was also appointed as an observer by the American Bar Association in 1989 when he traveled to Singapore on behalf of the ABA to observe the trials of four Singaporean lawyers accused of conspiring to undermine the government.