[JURIST] The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] characterized CIA tactics used against terrorism suspects as constituting torture in a confidential 2007 report, according an article [text; press release] published in the New York Review of Books earlier this month. Author Mark Danner [personal website] wrote that he was able to obtain a copy of the report, originally intended for CIA general counsel John Rizzo, in which the ICRC drew conclusions on detainee treatment based on interviews with fourteen so-called "high-valued" detainees. Danner wrote that ICRC's report included detailed accounts of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, prolonged nudity, and cold water immersion, and that the ICRC found the detainees accounts to be consistent enough to be considered reliable. He quoted the ICRC as concluding that the treatment of the detainees constituted torture:
'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 ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.'
Reports issued by the ICRC are almost always confidential [ICRC backgrounder], but the group has reserved the right to publish findings under certain circumstances. The ICRC has a formal mandate under the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] to visit prisoners of war and inspect the conditions of their detention.
Earlier this month, the CIA admitted to destroying 92 tapes of interrogations of the "high-value" detainees, later admitting that 12 of the destroyed tapes [JURIST reports] included evidence of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" (EIT). Rights groups and experts on torture have long criticized [JURIST news archive] the US for its use of EIT, and US President Barack Obama in January issued an executive order [text; JURIST report] explicitly banning the use of waterboarding and other techniques that do no comport with Geneva Convention safeguards for prisoners of war.