After over two decades of largely asymmetric warfare against insurgencies and transnational terror organisations, the West is still struggling with the status of unlawful combatants. The overreach of American national security has resulted in a largely unchecked programme of illegal rendition and detention of suspects. Denied trial and due legal processes, detainees have been held for years without prospects of release.
There is no bigger symbol of this thorny issue than Guantanamo Bay. Mohamedou Ould Slahi was held as a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay for over 14 years without charge. Mr Slahi’s personal insights will be placed into context with leading experts offering a security, human rights and geopolitical analysis of the challenges.
Questions asked will include:
Why has Guantanamo Bay prison proved such a difficulty for successive presidents to close?
How much damage has the facility done to American prestige around the world since it was opened?
Does the facility offer a ‘playbook’ for other countries in the future to utilise when detaining suspects seized abroad?
From a security and legal (including human rights) angle, what are the challenges in building out a framework that both provides security for citizens whilst defending the rights of the accused without resorting to long-term detention and other such practices?
- In the future of war, is there a need for a more solid framework to process non-state belligerents and non-uniformed combatants captured on the battlefield? If not Guantanamo, then what should be in place instead?
This event forms part of Chatham House’s work on the Future of Conflict.
As with all Chatham House member events, questions from members drive the conversation.