Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Resettlement of Guantánamo prisoners

Delivered in Plenary - 3rd February 2009

Mr President

The prison at Guantánamo Bay was a necessary creation of the United States at the time. Its closure is now a matter for the United States. I oppose EU Member States entangling themselves in the inevitable legal complications and the burden imposed on our security services of taking non-EU national prisoners previously designated as enemy combatants.

I do not regret the detention of the most dangerous terrorists intent on destroying our way of life when they were proven to be so. However, one of Guantánamo’s major drawbacks was that it forestalled any regular criminal proceedings against those held there. Ultimately, regular criminal trials are the only way to resolve the status of Guantánamo prisoners who are non-EU nationals.

Since the inmates of Guantánamo were captured by the United States, it is America’s responsibility to prosecute them in its own courts, or return them to their countries of origin if innocent. If President Obama is serious about closing Guantánamo, which I welcome, and about protecting America and its allies, this should be his policy.