DOS Cable re: International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) Moderates Reaction to U.S. Statement on Geneva Conventions

DOS Cable states that the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) moved towards but ultimately moderated its position on the U.S. position on applying the Geneva Conventions to the Guantanamo detainees. The ICRC statement stated that they "Welcomed the reaffirmation by the U.S. that the Geneva Conventions applies to the armed conflict in Afghanistan" but held off on presuming the prisoner of War (POW) status of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda combatants. The cable is otherwise heavily redacted.

Doc_type: 
Cable
Doc_date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Doc_text: 

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L FOR TAFT/CUMMINGS/KAYE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2006
TAGS: PREL, PARM, MCAP

SUBJECT: ICRC MODERATES REACTION TO U.S. STATEMENT ON B1 GENEVA CONVENTIONS
REF: A. STATE 24988

B. 01 GENEVA 4432

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHMAD
CLASSIFICATION: CONFIDENTIAL REASON: 1.4(D)

DECLASSIFY AFTER: 12 FEB 2027
DOS-002039

DATE/CASE ID: 10 NOV 2004 200303827

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CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR KEVIN E. MOLEY, FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

1.
(C) SUMMARY. ON FEBRUARY 8TH, THE ICRC MOVED TOWARDS
BUT ULTIMATELY TURNED AWAY FROM A CONFRONTATIONAL APPROACH
WITH THE U.S. ON THE ISSUE OF APPLICABILITY OF THE GENEVA
CONVENTIONS. HAVING EARLIER IN THE DAY PUBLICLY TAKEN
EXCEPTION WITH THE U.S. STATEMENT ON THE GENEVA CONVENTION,
THE ICRC SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED A STATEMENT THAT "WELCOMED THE
REAFFIRMATION BY THE U.S. THAT THE GENEVA CONVENTION APPLIES
TO THE INTERNATIONAL ARMED CONFLICT IN AFGHANISTAN." IT ALSO
AVOIDED ANY FORMAL PRONOUNCEMENT ON A "PRESUMPTION" OF
PRISONER OF WAR (POW) STATUS AND REFERRED ONLY TO "DIVERGENT
VIEWS" ON "PROCEDURES WHICH APPLY ON HOW TO DETERMINE STATUS."

2.
(C) THE ICRC'S MODERATED POSITION, COUPLED WITH A
TEMPERATE PUBLIC REACTION FROM THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH
COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (SPECIFICALLY THAT THE U.S.
DECISION "COULD BE A STEP FORWARD"), SUGGESTS THAT THE PUBLIC
POSTURE OF KEY GENEVA INSTITUTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE STATUS

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OF US-HELD DETAINEES IS TAKING ON A LESS CONTROVERSIAL TONE
AT LEAST FOR THE MOMENT.

END SUMMARY.

3. (U) EARLY IN THE DAY OF FEBRUARY 8TH, THE ICRC, REACTING
THROUGH A SPOKESPERSON TO THE FEB 7TH WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT
ON THE APPLICABILITY OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION (REF A), TOLD
THE PRESS IN ON-THE-RECORD REMARKS THAT THE GUANTANAMO
DETAINEES ARE POWS UNDER THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS, DESPITE THE

U.S. "DECISION" OF FEBRUARY 7TH. ACCORDING TO A REUTER'S
REPORT, THE ICRC SPOKESPERSON SAID "(T)HEY WERE CAPTURED IN
COMBAT (AND) WE CONSIDER THEM PRISONERS OF WAR."

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.DOS-002040

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L FOR TAFT/CUMMINGS/KAYE.

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TAGS: PREL, PARM, MCAP
SUBJECT: ICRC MODERATES REACTION TO U.S. STATEMENT ON
GENEVA CONVENTIONS

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MOLEY

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68