[JURIST] The US military is reviewing its classification of hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base [JURIST news archive] in Cuba, according to the Associated Press Thursday. The review could allow for new hearings for inmates who were classified as "enemy combatants" [JURIST news archive] and a reduction in the number of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Critics of the military's handling of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay argue that this step towards acknowledging that the initial Combatant Status Review Tribunals [DOD materials], or CSRTs, were unfair [JURIST report].
The CSRTs were established in 2004 in order to properly classify detainees and to allow detainees to contest their designation as "enemy combatants". Tribunal hearings were held for 558 detainees in 2004 and 2005. In these hearings detainees were provided with a military "personal representative", not a defense attorney. According to the Bush administration the classification of "enemy combatant" means that a person can be held for an unspecified amount of time and without receiving the full rights of a typical prisoner of war. AP has more.