With Bucca detention closure, U.S. reaffirms commitment to Security Agreement (Bucca)
Sunday, 20 September 2009
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
JOINT TASK FORCE 134
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release A090920x-01
Sept. 20, 2009
With Bucca detention closure, U.S. reaffirms commitment to Security Agreement
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – With the closure of the Camp Bucca theater internment facility on Sept. 17, the Task Force 134 commanding general said the closure reaffirms the U.S. commitment to the Security Agreement.
"Camp Bucca's closure honors the Security Agreement," Brig. Gen. David Quantock said. "It's a testament to the dedication and the hard work of the Government of Iraq and U.S. forces. We've been working side by side with the Iraqi government on detainee issues, and that great working relationship is what has made this closure possible."
At the time of Bucca detention facility’s closure, 8,305 detainees remain at Camps Taji and Cropper. In accordance with the Security Agreement, these detainees will either be released or transferred to the Government of Iraq with a valid warrant or detention order signed by an Iraqi judge.
"We work by and with the Government of Iraq to ensure these releases and transfers are done in a safe and orderly manner," Quantock said. "Since the Security Agreement took effect at the beginning of January, we've been very successful in that. So far this year, 5,703 detainees have been released and now have a chance to make a positive impact in Iraqi society. Approximately 1,360 have been transferred into Iraqi custody with valid warrants and detention orders."
The completion of detainee operations at Camp Bucca is also significant for the service members stationed there. The detention facility is in the process of being dismantled.
“The TIF teardown has been an ongoing process since April 2009,” said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bennett, a 168th Military Police Battalion training noncommissioned officer.
Many of the materials that are being taken from the TIF will be recycled to other areas of Camp Bucca or sent to other Forward Operating Bases in Iraq for reuse.
“The dismantling of Camp Bucca [detention facilities] is a sign of mission accomplishment which sends soldiers home that do not have to be replaced,” Bennett said. “The closure is progress for the Government of Iraq for taking control of the internment facilities and detainees.”
Camp Bucca’s water treatment operations, wastewater treatment plant, ice manufacturing facility and brick factory is scheduled to be turned over to the GoI in 2010. This represents nearly $60 million of infrastructure investments since 2006.
These transfers will allow the GoI to produce 2 million gallons (7.6 million liters) of potable water per day. In addition, they will be able to process 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters) of raw sewage daily resulting in 1.2 million gallons of grey water they can use for their crops.
Moreover, the ice production facility can generate 45 tons (40.8 metric tons) of ice daily. “Camp Bucca will begin distributing water and providing access to its wastewater facilities for the Iraqi people in the Umm Qasr region by the end of the month,” said Col. Daniel Lund, commander of Forward Operating Base Bucca.
From start to finish
Camp Bucca, currently operated by the 89th Military Police Brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, once had the capacity to house 30,000 detainees but never rose to that level.
The camp got its start in March 2003. It was called Camp Freddy at the time and was being run by British forces until the 800th MP Brigade took command of the camp on April 7, 2003. The camp was renamed to honor Ronald Bucca, a New York City fire marshal who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Although there was an initial spike in the detainee population as the detention facility was opened, the population dropped from more than 8,500 to 1,320 in early 2004. Until 2006, the population increased an average of 3,000 detainees per year, starting 2007 with more than 10,000 detainees at Camp Bucca.
The troop surge of 2007 also resulted in a surge of detainees. From January until November 2007, the detainee population more than doubled to 21,556 – the most detainees ever held at the same time in the facility.
The start of 2008 brought a steady decline to the Camp Bucca population, which dropped to 12,259 by the year’s end.
The population continued decreasing as detainees were released, transferred to the Government of Iraq with a valid warrant or detention order, or moved to Camps Taji or Cropper.
During internment, many detainees benefitted from education classes, vocational programs, voluntary Islamic discussion groups, and civics classes inside the Camp Bucca TIF. These programs, which have been in place at all U.S. detention facilities in Iraq since 2007, provide marketable skills to help released detainees reintegrate into Iraqi society. Families also received support from the International Committee of the Red Cross to facilitate visits to their loved ones in the detention facility.
According to Bennett, the detention facility is scheduled to be completely dismantled by the end of December.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT MNF-I Joint Task Force 134, at DSN 318-485-2802/2227/4030 or e-mail TF134PAO2@iraq.centcom.mil.
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