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ICRC Chief Faults Rights Protections at Guantanamo

On April 5, 2007, Jakob Kellenberger, president of the ICRC granted an interview to the Washington Post. In it he commented on the legal rights of Guantanamo prisoners. CSHRA has processed that interview below. The original report of the interview can be found here.


Legal Abuse

(ICRCWP1) The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that the United States has inadequate procedures to protect the human rights of foreign detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and called for a "more robust" system to determine whether to release hundreds of men who probably will never face trial.

(ICRCWP2) Jakob Kellenberger said he is concerned that the processes set up at Guantanamo to assess whether detainees are enemy combatants and whether they should remain there indefinitely infringe on the rights of men who have no clear way of challenging their detentions. Kellenberger said he raised his concerns in meetings with senior Bush administration officials this week, and found them open to discussion.

(ICRCWP3) "I felt that the present safeguard mechanisms are really not strong enough," Kellenberger said in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, adding that the detainees should be able to appeal their detentions in a fashion similar to the use of habeas corpus. "These people are four or five years deprived of their freedom, and despite investigations, no crimes came about."

(ICRCWP4) Faulting the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Kellenberger said his organization has problems with any nation using hearsay evidence or evidence derived from coercion. There are efforts underway in Congress to overhaul that act, which governs the trials for detainees at Guantanamo.

(ICRCWP5) Kellenberger said he believes ICRC visits to Guantanamo Bay and many U.S. prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq have forced meaningful improvements in detention policy. He noted that the Guantanamo facility in particular is no longer like what it was in 2002 and 2003.


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