President Obama will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees—reviving a trial system he once said the Bush administration had abused—but with new legal protections for terror suspects, officials said. The trials will remain frozen for another 4 months as the administration adjusts the legal system that is expected to try fewer than 20 of the 241 Guantanamo detainees; 13 are already in the tribunal system.
Two senior administration officials said changes include:
- Restrictions on hearsay evidence that can be used in court against the detainees.
- A ban on all evidence obtained through cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. This would include statements given from detainees who were subjected to waterboarding.
- Giving detainees greater leeway in choosing their own military counsel.
- Protecting detainees who refuse to testify from legal sanctions or other court prejudices.