Arrival at Guantanamo Bay
On arrival at Guantanamo Bay, after a 3 hour flight from Andrews Air Force Base, we were taken by ferry across the Bay to Camp Justice. After collecting our luggage we were shown the NGO observer accommodation tents, one for the men and one for the woman. The accommodation in the military tents is basic, but comfortable, with separate tents with shared latrines and showers.
After leaving our belongings in the tents we were taken to the Expeditionary Legal Complex (ELC) which houses the courtroom and buildings for the personnel involved in proceedings. We passed through security and obtained our security passes to the ELC for the week. We were given a briefing on what to expect and the procedures which must be followed when attending the hearings.
The next stop for the day was the Navy Exchange (NEX) to pick up some supplies.
The day ended with a dinner hosted by the defence team representing Mr. al Baluchi for all the NGO observers and journalists. After the dinner there was a questions and answers session with the defence team who gave a fascinating insight into the realities of defending an accused at the Military Commissions and also the legal peculiarities which are specific to proceedings at the Military Commissions.
Pre-trial hearings commence on Monday morning and I will try to provide observations as soon as possible throughout the week.