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A time line on the events at Guantanamo

January 2002

The first prisoners from Afghanistan arrive in Guantanamo. A group of 20 is housed in metal cages at Camp X-Ray.

April 2002

As the prisoner population swells into the hundreds, detainees are moved to newly constructed Camp Delta, which can house 400.

October 2002

The first three detainees are released.

March 2003

A federal appeals court rules that detainees have no legal rights in U.S. courts.

July 2003

President Bush designates six suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists to be eligible for military tribunals, the first since World War II.

December 2003

Australian David Hicks becomes the first detainee to get a lawyer.

July 2004

The U.S. announces that each prisoner's detention will be reviewed on an annual basis by an administrative panel called the Combatant Status Review Tribunal. The CSRTs will conduct preliminary proceedings - not military trials - and detainees will not be permitted lawyers.

August 2004

Preliminary steps begin for the first full-fledged military commission trials, including the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, alleged driver for Osama Bin Laden.

November 2004

A federal judge in Washington orders the Pentagon to halt the Hamdan trial, saying that Bush does not have authority to conduct military-commission trials.

January 2005

The U.S. announces an investigation into allegations that detainees have been tortured.

July 2005

A federal appeals court upholds Bush's authority to conduct military trials.

February 2006

A U.N. report recommends that Gitmo be closed.

June 2006

The Supreme Court rules that Bush lacked the authority to establish military-commission trials without Congress' authorization and scuttles them, saying that they violate U.S. and international law.

July 2006

The Pentagon announces that all Guantanamo detainees are now entitled to Geneva Convention protections.

September 2006

Fourteen "high-value" detainees are transferred from secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo for trial.

October 2006

Bush signs a new military-commission trial law adopted by Congress. The new format permits hearsay evidence but not statements obtained by torture. Defense lawyers are barred from sharing classified evidence with clients without permission of the Pentagon.

November 2006

The Pentagon announces plan to build a new courtroom on an abandoned airfield at Guantanamo.

December 2006

A federal judge in Washington rejects a challenge to the new military-commission trial law, setting up an  appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

March 2007

As the first military-commission trial is set to begin, Australian detainee David Hicks pleads guilty to supporting terrorism and is sentenced to nine months, a term he will serve in his home country. Hicks becomes the first person convicted in a U.S. war-crimes trial since World War II. Meanwhile, Khalid Sheik Mohammed appears at a CSRT panel and confesses to the Sept. 11 attacks.

April 2007

The Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Guantanamo Bay detainees to review their detainment.

June 2007

Military judges in Guantanamo, preparing to hear the first two trials, unexpectedly dismiss charges against two detainees, ruling that the preliminary tribunal identified them only as "enemy combatants," not "unlawful enemy combatants" as the new legislation requires. The government appeals.

June 2007

A CSRT panel member, breaking his silence, files an affidavit that says the CSRT process is deeply flawed and one-sided. Shortly after, the Supreme Court, reversing course, agrees to review whether the new military-commission law allows U.S. courts to review detainee confinement.

September 2007

A military appeals court sends the two tribunal cases back to Guantanamo, telling the military judges that they have the authority to determine, on their own, whether the detainees are "unlawful enemy combatants."

October 2007

Preparations begin anew for the first of dozens of military-commission trials.

Prelimary hearings begin in the case of Canadian national Omar Ahmed Khadr.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether detainees should have access to U.S. civilian courts.

SOURCES: The Associated Press, Inquirer research