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Red Cross chief discusses terror detainees status with US officials

[JURIST] Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [advocacy website], Wednesday expressed optimism [press release] after completing a two-day visit to Washington DC to speak with top US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, about ICRC concerns regarding the status and treatment of US terror detainees. Kellenberger said that talks between the US and the ICRC had led to "tangible progress," but emphasized that some issues still remained unresolved, particularly in regard to protecting detainees' legal rights at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The talks also addressed the need for the US intelligence community to interact with the ICRC, and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Darfur, Iraq, and Israel and the Palestinian territories. AP has more.

The ICRC is formally entrusted under the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] with visiting prisoners of war and inspecting the conditions of their detention. The ICRC in Iraq [ICRC materials] currently has arrangements with US forces allowing access to some 20,000 detainees and with Kurdish authorities to allow visitation with another 1,500 detainees.

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