Aeschlimann's, former head of theICRC's Central Tracing Agency andProtection Division.- In confidential discussions with theauthorities before and after each visit,delegates raise concerns and makerecommendations where appropriate.- ICRC delegates must have accessto all cells where detainees are heldand other facilities used by detainees,such as kitchens, showers, infirmariesand punishment cells.- ICRC delegates must be able tospeak privately with each and everydetainee of their choice.- The ICRC registers detainees fallingwithin its area of concern individually,so as to be able to monitor thesituation of each person as long as heor she remains in captivity.- The ICRC must be allowed to repeatits visits as frequently as it chooses.
A multicultural and multidisciplinarylearning experience created toenhance professionalism inhumanitarian assistance programmesconducted in emergency situations.
Co-sponsored by and held at theRobert H. Jackson Center at the
Outside places of detention, the ICRC aims to act moreconsistently and on a greater scale to offer victimsrehabilitation. It is increasingly working with organizations thatspecialize in this field. In addition, the organization also workswith national authorities to help them improve the practices oftheir officials with regard to detainees.
Lastly, how can the ICRC help eradicate torture? Can yougive us a few examples?
Torture is an extremely complex phenomenon. Its prevalence,or otherwise, may be influenced by a wide range of factorsinvolving individuals, the law, the mechanisms of governance,and ethical convictions. The ICRC takes a comprehensiveapproach, the primary aim of which is to provide victims withprotection, assistance and rehabilitation. At the same time,however, it works to create a legal, institutional and ethicalenvironment conducive to stopping these practices, and wheresuch an environment already exists, to bolster it.
In terms of the legal environment, the ICRC tries to ensure thatthe prohibition on torture and other forms of ill-treatmentbecomes an integral part of national constitutions and thatthese rules are incorporated at the various levels concerned.When it comes to the institutional environment, there needs tobe monitoring and disciplinary measures in place, and theseneed to be effective. The ICRC works with a variety of entitiesto strengthen these mechanisms.
Bolstering the ethical environment is perhaps the biggestchallenge of all. Where certain values are not deeply rooted insociety, it is much more difficult to have an impact on thephenomenon of ill-treatment. For the ICRC, ethical argumentsshould therefore be at the forefront. It is vital to be able toinfluence the debate on torture if we are to have a chance ofmaking a real impact.
ICRC Washington's Work on Detention
The ICRC has been visiting people captured in the context ofarmed conflict and the fight against terrorism who are beingheld at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and inGuantanamo Bay since January 2002 and in Iraq since March2003. When our Washington-based team conducts its visits at
Interview with Ralph Wehbe, outgoing Detention
Coordinator for ICRC Washington