Strengthening international humanitarian law protecting persons deprived of their liberty : thematic consultation of government experts on conditions of detention and particularly vulnerable detainees, Geneva, Switzerland, 29-31 January 2014 / report
Strengthening international humanitarian law protecting persons deprived of their liberty : thematic consultation of government experts on conditions of detention and particularly vulnerable detainees, Geneva, Switzerland, 29-31 January 2014
At the conclusion of the regional consultations, the experts had identified a broad range of humanitarian and legal issues within each of the four areas discussed; they agreed that the driving principle behind the next steps in the process should be to focus on a concrete and technical assessment of whether and how to strengthen the law to address those issues. The ICRC subsequently planned two thematic consultations for carrying the process forward along these lines. The first – held from 29 to 31 January 2014, and the subject of the present report – examined issues related to conditions of detention and vulnerable detainee groups in greater detail. In preparing the present thematic meeting, the ICRC took into account the following broad conclusions from the regional consultations: • States generally support an outcome document that will strengthen IHL protecting NIAC related detainees, with the vast majority preferring one that is not legally binding. • Existing IHL applicable in IACs is the first place to turn to see what might be appropriate for an IHL outcome document. • While the views of States differ regarding the interplay between IHL and human rights law, the substantive content of human rights law and internationally recognized detention standards – keeping in mind that they were not necessarily designed with the same balance of military necessity and humanitarian considerations in mind as IHL – may also be valuable sources of reference for a potential IHL outcome document. • The collective experience of States and the practices they have developed to protect detainees can be a source of useful ideas and insights for a potential IHL outcome document, and should continue to be shared going forward. • Regulating the detention activities of non-State armed groups is a particularly sensitive issue that requires further discussion.
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