[JURIST] The US government has begun setting up a "tent city" at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], Cuba, where the US military plans to hold military tribunals [JURIST news archive] for Guantanamo detainees, officials said Thursday. The military believes tribunals could begin as early as March, and the new facility will allow several detainees to be tried together using the same evidence, including the government's "high value" detainees [DOD backgrounder, PDF]. The compound, which will include about 100 tents to house and feed tribunal personnel, journalists and non-governmental organizations as well as try the detainees, is a significant departure from a planned permanent facility [JURIST report] to hold six simultaneous trials.
Last month, the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] said that 14 "high-value" detainees have been designated as enemy combatants [press release; JURIST report] based on the recommendations of Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) [DOD materials]. The detainees, including the alleged masterminds of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, were all previously formerly held in secret prisons [JURIST report] operated by the Central Intelligence Agency and are currently held at Guantanamo. Detainees held as "enemy combatants" will be held indefinitely until they are charged before military commissions under the Military Commission Act of 2006 [PDF text] or are transferred to another location. AP has more.