DOS Memo: Excerpts from International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) Press Statements on U.S. Detention Policies

Memo includes excerpts from an ICRC press statement on the U.S. government's detention policies. The ICRC's President asked the U.S. to institute due legal process and to make significant changes for the more than 600 detainees being held in Guantanamo.

Non-legal Memo
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

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Appendix 2:
Excerpts from ICRC Press Statements on USG Detention

May 27, 2003: Press release describing Kellenberger's meetings in Washington, says the following about GTMO:
"In relation to Guantanamo, the ICRC President asked the US
authorities to institute due legal process and to make
significant changes for the more than 600 internees held

August 26, 2003: Audio file of Beatrice Megevand-Roggo,
Delegate General for Europe and the Americas, released on
the ICRC website, entitled, "What are the ICRC's main
concerns regarding the internees in Guantanamo Bay?":

"Well, as you know, there is little the .ICRC can say about
the conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees
in any detention place in the world actually; it is not
limited to Guantanamo. Now there are a number of things
that we have said publicly and of course they are the
things that we say in a bilateral and confidential dialogue
with the American authorities as well. The main concern
for the ICRC is the fact that there are people that are
being detained in Guantanamo now for 18 months or even a
bit more. And there is apparently no end to this
detention. For the time being, the detention system in
Guantanamo is an open-ended one, in which the detainees do
not know at all what is going to happen to them, how long
they are going to be held there, and what will be the
outcome of this. Will they have a process, will they be
released, will they be repatriated? And this is something
that takes a toll, a heavy toll, on their psychological
conditions, of course."

Second audio file, entitled, "What are the significant
changes the ICRC has asked for in Guantanamo Bay?":

"We would like the United States authorities to introduce
significant changes in the conditions of detention in
Guantanamo. We have listed them. Of course, this is not
for public consumption. But they know very well what the
requests from the ICRC are. And especially we would like
the whole judicial procedure to be sped up. And for each


DATE/CASE ID: 22 DEC 2004 200303827


and every detainee to be allowed to have a due legal

process, which is not the case for the time being."

October 10, 2003: Christophe Girod, ICRC Washington Head

of Delegation the New York Times:

NYT: "A senior official of the ICRC said on Thursday that

the holding of more than 600 detainees here was

unacceptable because they were being held for open-ended

terms without proper legal process. Christophe Girod, the

senior Red Cross official in Washington, said on Thursday

in an interview at the U.S. Naval Base here, 'One cannot

keep these detainees in this pattern, this situation,

indefinitely.' Mr. Girod spoke as he and a team of

officials from the international organization were

completing their latest inspection tour of the detention

camp. Although he did not criticize any physical

conditions at the camp, he said that it was intolerable

that the complex was used as 'an investigation center, not

a detention center.' He said that the ICRC was making the
unusual statements because of lack of action.... Mr. Girod

said, 'The open-endedness of the situation and its impact

on the mental health of the population has become a major
problem .
October 10, 2003: Amanda Williamson, ICRC/Washington Press
Spokesperson to Reuters:

"After more than 18 months of captivity, the internees have
no idea about their fate, no means of recourse through any
legal mechanism. They have been placed in a legal vacuum,
a legal black hole. This, for the ICRC, is unacceptable.
As time wars on, the anxiety for the detainees increases,
and so do our concerns for the impact this uncertainty is
having on the population in Guantanamo. We did feel that
we have do make our concerns known. Clearly when you look
at Guantanamo today, that crucial element - the lack of
legal framework - remains unresolved."

January 15, 2004: Advance press release on Kellenberger
trip to Washington says only:

"During his meetings with government officials, the ICRC
president will review in particular the situation at the US
detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. When Mr.
Kellenberger last visited Washington in May 2003, he asked
the US authorities to institute due legal process and to


implement other significant changes for the more than 600

detainees held at the facility."

January 16, 2004: Press release on Kellenberger visit to

Washington says:

"Mr. Kellenberger, while appreciating the frankness of the
dialogue with the US authorities, lamented the fact that
two years after the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo,
and despite repeated pleas, they are still facing seemingly
indefinite detention beyond the reach of the law. He also
noted concerns regarding certain aspects of the conditions
and treatment in Guantanamo have not been adequately
addressed. Mr. Kellenberger welcomed assurances from the
US authorities that the review process in pace is to be
accelerated, leading to possible further releases from
Guantanamo, while stressing the importance of ensuring that
those remaining should either be charged and tried or
placed within a legal framework which governs their
continued detention.... Said Mr. Kellenberger after the
meetings: ."The talks were held in a constructive
atmosphere and the US authorities seemed sincerely
receptive to our concerns and challenges, as we are aware
of theirs, although we expect of course that this important
dialogue will yield concrete results relating to our
concerns. We remain committed to the dialogue process with
the US authorities and to our important humanitarian
framework in Guantanamo and elsewhere."

March 1, 2004: Editorial in Financial Times, by Gabor
Rona, identified as "Legal Advisor" to the ICRC; however,
he is actually one of the lawyers on the staff of the Legal
Advisor, JeanPhillippe Lavoyer.:


"The official US view is that an international armed
conflict is under way, spanning the world and pitting
certain countries against terrorists. This conflict will
end once terrorism is defeated. In the meantime, the laws
of armed conflict prevail over the entire planet - meaning
that, within limits, killing, destruction of property and
detentions are permitted, all without the restraint of
judicial intervention. In this world, instead of merely
arresting a suspected terrorist on the street, the US, if
it considered him an 'enemy combatant,' would be within its
rights to shoot him."


Drafted: PRM/MCE: CSantos, x3-1487, Drafted 4-08-04;
Updated 5-13-04

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Cleared: PRM/MCE: MPollack