The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime.
Closing the facility in Cuba “would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice,” read the draft prepared for the new president’s signature.
While some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo would be released, others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under terms to be determined.
It was not known when Obama intended to issue the order. He has been a longtime critic of the Bush administration’s decision to maintain the detention facility, which was opened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
There are an estimated 245 detainees currently held at Guantanamo, out of some 800 who were sent there during the Bush administration.
The order circulated as the judge in one war crimes case agreed to Obama’s request to suspend proceedings pending a 120-day review.
Army Col. Stephen Henley issued the ruling Wednesday after a brief hearing at the U.S. base in Cuba.
The defendants opposed the delay. All have said they want to plead guilty to charges that carry a potential death sentence.
It was not immediately clear whether the request to halt proceedings was designed as a precursor to a more extensive executive order.