Practice Relating to Rule 124. ICRC Access to Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
In addition to possible action as a protecting power and to gathering information on prisoners of war, the ICRC fulfils the following tasks:
- visiting people who have been deprived of their freedom (prisoners of war, political prisoners and civilians who have been imprisoned for other reasons), and to seek to bring improvement in their living conditions.
In its chapter on the prevention and punishment of war crimes, the manual states:
[C]onditions in prisoner-of-war and internment camps and the state of health and food supply of the civilian population in occupied territory may come under the supervision of a protecting power. Here the ICRC may act as a protecting power.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “Every detainee is entitled to maintain contact with the outside world, and it is obvious that the ICRC should be called upon to visit the peace force’s prison camps and give further advice.”
In 2007, in a joint letter from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark addressed to the Government of Afghanistan regarding third-party access to transferred detainees, it was stated:
Access to Afghan facilities is to be permitted to organizations that are already afforded access under that government’s bilateral arrangements with the Government of Afghanistan including, where applicable, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), relevant human rights institutions within the UN system, and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).