[JURIST] Vice-chief of US Naval Operations Admiral Patrick Walsh [official profile] will lead the assessment of operations [press release] at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military prison, according to a Tuesday announcement by Pentagon Press Secretary, Geoff Morrell. Walsh was selected by Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile], to comply with President Barack Obama's January 22 executive order [text; JURIST report] to close the facility within one year. Morrell affirmed that detainee conditions in Guantanamo "have been in compliance with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions for some time and are still so," but that Pentagon officials "take this task very seriously." The review will be completed in 30 days.
Obama has also issued an executive order [text; JURIST report] banning the use of torture in interrogations and shutting down CIA secret detention facilities. Last week, four human rights groups that were granted observer status in August 2004 urged [letter text, JURIST report] Obama to permit them full access to the detention center to asses the conditions and make recommendations, since they have not yet been permitted so.