At last. The US will hold Status Hearings for all the detainees in Guantanamo. Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention requires such hearings, stating, “Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy,” then “such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.”
In other words, enemy fighters should be treated as POWs — not civilian law-breakers, much less “enemy combatants” — until they have had an initial hearing which can be and usually is before a military tribunal.
We were supposed to do that two years ago, but at last Pentagon Sets Hearings for 595 Detainees.
Note that these hearings are completely separate from the habeas hearings the Supreme Court has said must be held. But to the extent that some detainees are released, or classified as POWs, the number of habeas hearings may shrink.
Unlike some right-wing doomsayers I think it unlikely that POWs have a claim to habeas relief during the duration of the conflict. But to the extent that they can claim the war is over now that we've handed over sovereignty, they too might have a claim that could be heard. (But it would lose.)