Forum at IU to address prospects for closing Guantánamo Bay prison

A Miami Herald reporter and legal experts from the Washington University and IU McKinney law schools will join former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton on Monday for an Indiana University Bloomington panel discussion of the Guantánamo Bay detention center and prospects for closing the facility.

Lee A. Feinstein, dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies, will moderate the forum, which will take place at 4 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union University Club.

Carol Rosenberg

Carol Rosenberg

The session comes as President Barack Obama is weighing options for closing the prison despite a congressional ban on moving Guantánamo detainees to the U.S., according to news reports.

The panelists bring expertise from perspectives of law, journalism and government:

  • Hamilton, director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University and a faculty member in the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, served in Congress from 1965-99 and was vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
  • Carol Rosenberg, a staff correspondent with the Miami Herald, is the only journalist to cover Guantánamo from before the first detainees arrived in January 2002 until the present. Her stories about the prison and its detainees are available online.
  • Leila Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor and director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law, is an expert on international criminal law and justice. She launched the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative in 2008.
  • George Edwards, the Carl M. Gray Professor of Law at the IU McKinney School in Indianapolis, founded the school’s program in International Human Rights Law and teaches courses on human rights and international criminal law and procedure.

The forum is sponsored by the Center on American and Global Security with assistance from the School of Global and International Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Also, Leila Sadat will speak at IU Bloomington on “Forging a Convention for Crimes against Humanity.” The talk, sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Middle East and the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday in room 123 of the Maurer School of Law.

While both Obama and Republican rival John McCain called in 2008 for closing Guantánamo, the task has proven all but impossible. Congress has blocked the idea, reflecting opposition to moving detainees from the site in Cuba to locations in the U.S.

Yet Guantánamo remains in the news, and not only for questions of whether Obama can close it over congressional opposition. Recent news stories, covered extensively by Rosenberg, include controversy over female guards at the prison, disputes between the government and news media over access to videotapes of force-feeding of detainees, and legal proceedings against detainees.