Letter from Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee for the Red Cross to U.S. Ambassador Kevin E. Moley

This letter from Jacob Kellenberger of President of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) is a request that the ICRC reports on the detention facilities in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Afghanistan be transmitted or shared with the U.S. Congressional committees so they can understand and appreciate the conditions the ICRC found in the mentioned facilities. Mr. Kellenberger asks that this be carried out under conditions that respect the confidential nature of those documents in order to preserve and protect the integrity of the ICRC's work in this field. Mr. Kellenberger states “l appreciate your sensitivity to the relation between the manner In which such ICRC documents are distributed and used and the ICRC's ability to maintain the cooperation of parties to armed conflict that Is necessary to the fulfillment of Its humanitarian mandate.”

Doc_type: 
Letter
Doc_date: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED
THE PRESIDENT

RELEASED IN FULL
ICRC

Geneva, 8 June 2004
Dear Mr Ambassador,
Thank you for your letter of May 27 Informing me of the request from several committees of the U.S. Congress to receive copies of confidential ICRC reports that concern visits to detention facilities in Iraq, Guantanamo Say, Cuba and Afghanistan. l appreciate your sensitivity to the relation between the manner In which such ICRC documents are distributed and used and the ICRC's ability to maintain the cooperation of parties to armed conflict that Is necessary to the fulfilment of Its humanitarian mandate.
it Is often difficult to convey how much the ICRC's ability to fulfil its mandate to visit detainees depends upon respect by all parties for its confidential working method. Our experience all too often confirms that, where doubts are cast over expectations of ICRC's confidentiality, the concerned authorities refuse the cooperation necessary to the implementation of our mandate.
The Honorable
Ambassador Kevin Edward Mofey
Permanent Representative of the
United States of America

Route de Pregny 11
. 1292 Chambesy
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: CHARLES L DARTS
UNCLASSIFIED

DATE/CASE ID: 20 SEP 2004 200303827
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UNCLASSIFIED • -2
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While ICRC's access, coupled with confidential communication to detaining
authorities about conditions of detention and treatment of detainees, is no guarantee
of full adherence to the rules and norms of applicable law, It is certainly a better
Indication of respect for the law than is ICRC's exclusion. In short, and as you so
correctly noted, the public release of ICRC detention reports could jeopardize the .
ICRC's reputation for confidentiality, which, in turn, could adversely affect Its ability
to gain access to the populations we are mandated to assist and protect.
I would also wish to convey to the Congress that ICRC detention reports are official documents submittedto detaining authorities in order to inform them of how detention conditions and treatment of detainees either do or do not comply with the requirements of applicable international law. The reports are meant to provide a sufficient basis upon which the detaining authority can investigate alleged failures of compliance and, where Indicated, correct them.. All such reports are provided subject to conditions that they not be published or used for purposes other than those just mentioned, absent ICRC's consent, I understand the work of the relevant Congressional committees tote consistentwiththese purposes and limitationt.
This being said, I do have concerns that the release of ICRC reports to Congressional committees could pave the way for their further unauthorized distribution and unintended use. For these reasons, I request that any transmittal to the relevant committees be carried out under conditions that allow to respect the strictly confidential nature of the documents and that all appropriate measures be taken to afford maximum protection against further disclosure and uncontrolled use of the reports.
Should the U.S. Government decide to transmit ICRC reports to the Congress, I would kindly request that all the reports relating to. the visits carried out in the various detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo be made available to the relevant Congressional committees, in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the conditions of detention and treatment of detainees observed by ICRC
delegates.
UNCLASSIFIED
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UNCLASSIFIED
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I would also further appreciate that the ICRC be provided with an Inventory of all ICRC reports transmitted to the Congressional committees and that all documents be transmitted In their entirety.
Thank you again for having expressed your commitment to see that I CRC's confidentiality concerns are respected and for having given me this opportunity to Indicate my views, concerns and suggestions.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Jakob Kellenb rge

UNCLASSIFIED

DOS-000140

Doc_nid: 
5883
Doc_type_num: 
69