ICRC REPORT ON THE TREATMENT OF FOURTEEN "HIGH VALUE DETAINEES" IN CIA CUSTODY
All of the fourteen were subjected to a process of ongoing transfers to places of detention in unknown locations and continuous solitary confinement and incommunicado detention throughout the entire period of their detention. The fourteen were placed outside the protection of the law during the time they spent in the CIA detention program. The totality of the circumstances in which they were held effectively amounted to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty and enforced disappearance, in contravention of international law.
Moreover, and in addition to the continuous solitary confinement and incommunicado detention which itself was a form of ill-treatment, twelve of the fourteen alleged that they were subjected to systematic physical and/or psychological ill-treatment. This was a consequence of both the treatment and the material conditions which formed part of the interrogation regime, as well as the overall detention regime. This regime was clearly designed to undermine human dignity and to create a sense of futility by inducing, in many cases, severe physical and mental pain and suffering, with the aim of obtaining compliance and extracting information, resulting in exhaustion, depersonalisation and dehumanisation.
The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the illtreatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel inhuman or degrading treatment.
The alleged participation of health personnel in the interrogation process and, either directly or indirectly, in the infliction of ill-treatment constituted a gross breach of medical ethics and, in some cases, amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
In light of the above, the ICRC remains gravely concerned by the fate of the other persons previously held in the CIA detention program, who remain unaccounted for. It continues to request that the relevant US authorities provide clarification concerning the fate of all persons for whom it has information.
The ICRC also remains gravely concerned about the announcement by President Bush that the US authorities intend to continue the practice of undisclosed detention by holding persons arrested in the context of the fight against terrorism in the CIA detention program in the future.
The ICRC urges the US authorities to end the practice of undisclosed detention and to ensure that all persons detained in the context of the fight against terrorism are held in conformity with the rules and principles of international law.
Without prejudice to its position on undisclosed detention, the ICRC requests that, should persons nevertheless be held in the CIA detention program in the future, it be notified of their detention and granted access to these detainees. Moreover, it urges the US authorities to provide the ICRC with notification and access to all detainees held under US authority in the context of the fight against terrorism. Such access, of a purely humanitarian nature, should not be seen as inconsistent with any legitimate security concerns of the US authorities in relation to the concerned detainees.
To this end, the ICRC recommends the following:
• that the US authorities take all measures to eliminate abusive conditions of detention and treatment in all places of detention under their authority;
• that all persons detained in the context of the fight against terrorism be treated humanely at all times;
• that all persons detained in the context of the fight against terrorism be permitted to communicate with family members within a reasonable time;
• that all persons detained in the context of the fight against terrorism be held in a legal framework affording all fundamental guarantees;
• that the ICRC be notified of all arrests carried out by the US authorities or by third country authorities acting on behalf of or in cooperation with the US authorities in the context of the fight against terrorism;
• that the ICRC be granted access to all persons held under US authority in the context of the fight against terrorism;
• that the US authorities investigate all allegations of ill-treatment and take steps to punish the perpetrators, where appropriate, and to prevent such abuses from happening again.
• that the US authorities inform the ICRC of the identities of the other persons who have passed through the CIA detention program, the country to which they have been returned and any other relevant details to allow the ICRC to seek access to these persons.
The ICRC trusts that the information in the present report will provide a useful tool for the relevant US authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that all persons deprived of liberty in the context of the fight against terrorism are treated in accordance with the provisions of international law and internationally recognised standards. The ICRC looks forward to continue its dialogue with the US authorities on this issue.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|