Guantánamo Refugees Decision 20th Anniversary - Miami Law Co-Sponsors Panel Discussion

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The case Cuban America Bar Association (CABA) v. Secretary of State Warren Christopher that determined the due process rights of the more than 33,000 Cuban rafters intercepted at sea in August of 1994 only to be detained at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, will be discussed on Monday, February 16, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The decision laid the legal groundwork for the use of Guantánamo after September 11, 2001, to detain enemy combatants.

“Following the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, with all the seemingly endless talk of whether to close the detention centers at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, it is worth remembering that now is not the first time the base has held a group of people the United States wanted to contain in a ‘rights-free zone,’” said Christina Frohock, a scholar on Guantánamo and detainee issues and a member of the faculty of the University of Miami School of Law, who will moderate the discussion.

“The panel will cast a current eye on events before 9/11, exploring two contrasting outcomes of the U.S. government’s housing in Guantánamo camps of more than 33,000 Cuban rafters intercepted at sea in August 1994.”

The participating panelists were all lead counsel in the CABA v. Christopher case in 1994 and 1995 before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. Haitian refugees, picked up at sea earlier than the Cubans, were already housed in Guantánamo camps and later intervened as additional plaintiffs in the case.

  • One panelist will be Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, who is one of the country’s leading experts in public and international law, national security law, and human rights. He previously served as legal advisor to the U.S. Department of State, for which he received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. He is past Dean of Yale Law School, and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Koh argued in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case on behalf of Haitian refugees.
  • Joining Koh will be Roberto Martinez, adjunct professor at Miami Law and partner at Colson Hicks Eidson, who successfully served as co-lead counsel in several anti-terrorism cases, including a $188 million wrongful death judgment in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down by Cuban Air Force MiG fighter aircraft. A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Martinez has extensive expertise in the public and private sector.
  • Also participating will be Marcos Jimenez, J.D.’83, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Miami and New York, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida just after September 11, 2001, and served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys; and former president of the Florida Bar and the Cuban American Bar Association, Francisco Angones, J.D.’76, who is a senior partner at Angones McClure & Garcia. Angones was lead counsel in the Brothers to the Rescue case.

"This is an opportunity for a unique insight into a historic event that helped shape U.S. immigration and national security policies," said Jimenez.

The discussion will take place at the University of Miami Richter Library, Cuban Heritage Collection. A reception at 5 p.m. will precede the panel discussion. The event is free and open to the public. CLE credits are pending.

To RSVP, click here.