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From June of 2004, through June of 2007, I represented Omar Khadr, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Omar, a Canadian citizen, was 15 years old when captured, and he was - and is - one of the very few detainees facing trial by a military commission. President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo and to put the commission trials on hold leaves us all with questions as to what will happen. This reflection was written in 2007, just about when I stopped representing Omar. The lower federal courts have not, in my view, used international law in any meaningful way in resolving legal claims by the detainees, whether having to do with torture, conditions of confinement or arguments for release, despite the existence of scores of relevant international norms. I continue to represent two other detainees, one from Libya and one from Azerbaijan. Neither can go home, and, despite the closure order, we continue to fight for their release in both the courts and through diplomatic channels.


This is the original working paper that was submitted for publication in The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison, Outside the Law. (New York: New York University Press, 2009.)