President Obama today signs into law his executive order on Guantanamo bay. It closes the camp and ends one of the darkest episodes in US military justice. The act opens the door not only to freedom for some of the 245 detainees and justice for the others, but action against those who put them there. As a leading US legal academic explains, the truth is starting to come out about what happened behind the wire. The trickle of information is about to become a flood;“We now have Bush officials admitting that they tortured people. We have the interrogators who have said they tortured people. So, you have a defined war crime. The world is going to watch and see whether Barack Obama walks away from a defined and confirmed war crime. Obama cannot hope to go around the world and speak about the rule of law if one of the first acts he took was to stop the investigation of war crimes.” Human rights campaigners hailed the immediate repair it does to Americas soiled image. “In his first day in office Barack Obama took an important step to begin to restore the rule of law and to demonstrate to the world that America stands for fair justice,” said Human Rights Watch. Within a year Camp Delta place will be gone, but Obama must grapple with its ugly legacy for years to come.
Obama closes Guantanamo