16 May 2009

Obama to revive Guantanamo military trials

1:56 pm on 16 May 2009

United States President Barack Obama is to revive military trials for some detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

However, he says legal rights for those facing the military commissions will be improved.

There are currently 240 people detained on suspicion of terrorism at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On the campaign trail last year, Mr Obama branded the military trials set up by George Bush "an enormous failure".

He halted them as one of his first acts on taking office in January, saying the US was entering a new era of respecting human rights.

In a statement issued on Friday, Mr Obama said military commissions are appropriate for trying enemies who violate the laws of war, provided they are properly structured and administered.

But he said he had opposed the tribunals used by the Bush administration because they had failed to establish a legitimate legal framework and undermined swift and certain justice.

The decision to revive the military trials has brought harsh criticism from civil liberties groups.