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The ICRC responds to allegations made in the Wall Street Journal

24-05-2005 Statement

The following is the text of a letter sent to the editor of the Wall Street Journal in reply to an editorial that appeared in the newspaper on May 23 2005.

Dear Sir,

Reference is made to the editorial " As Bad as the Nazis? " which appeared in your Journal on May 23rd, 2005.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) categorically rejects the assertion that any of its delegates have ever compared any US military personnel with those of Nazi Germany.

ICRC delegates behave according to the highest ethical and professional standards. Throughout the world, they strive continuously to develop and maintain a constructive dialogue with all detaining authorities, military and civilian, so as to best uphold the Geneva Conventions of 1949. These Conventions were drafted (partly based on previously existing law) and ratified by the community of nations as a direct response to the horrors of the Second World War. They represent the strongest possible commitment by the world community to respect humanity in the face of armed conflict. The ICRC is mandated by the states to monitor this most noble of ideals and takes its responsibility seriously.

Insinuations that the ICRC is utilising its confidentiality policy in an " ideological " fashion are equally untrue and need to be rejected forcefully. Sources unknown to the ICRC have repeatedly leaked confidential ICRC information to the media, including to the WSJ. Consequently, the ICRC has had to publicly clarify its positions and it has always striven to do so with self-restraint and in an objective and factual manner.

The ICRC will continue to privilege direct and confidential reports to the US authorities on its observations in all matters concerning the treatment of persons deprived of their freedom an d their conditions of detention. The US civilian and military authorities must be credited for engaging in a continuous and frank dialogue with the ICRC, despite any diverging points of view.

The ICRC has no other intention than to seriously and professionally fulfil the mandate it has received by the community of states, and it is confident that the US authorities respect and value its contribution to that effect.

With respectful regards,

Antonella Notari

Spokesperson

ICRC Geneva

  Read the original editorial"As Bad as the Nazis?"in the Wall Street Journal.