2012 – Camille Jacquot

The Foundation and the Academy are happy to announce that the Henry Dunant Prize – 2012 is attributed to Ms. Camille Jacquot for her thesis “The status of the prisoners of Guantánamo captured in Afghanistan in relation to international humanitarian law and international human rights law: what protection within the framework of the “war against terrorism”?

The Jury was impressed by the sensibility and the legal rigor of Ms. Jacquot on a subject as complex as controversial. A perfect structure which allows to follow the thread of the reasoning easily, a well supplied documentation and references sensibly chosen. We notice the reflection of a perfect knowledge of international humanitarian law and, consequently, an indisputable contribution to the clarification of a practical aspect of IHL which keeps dividing jurists and politicians. Beyond the purely legal considerations which characterize the work of Ms. Jacquot, the clarity and the simplicity with which she analyses this question does not leave her readers indifferent, whether jurists or not.


Camille Jacquot
Camille Jacquot

Camille Jacquot started her law studies in 2006. Her strong interest for international humanitarian law and human rights led her to undertake a course of study at the Geneva Academy. Graduated in June 2012, she worked for three years as a refugee caseworker for Amnesty International Australia and the Australian Red Cross. She is currently a legal advisor to migrants held in immigration detention.

Thesis Summary

At the core of this thesis is one of the most debated issues of the past years: can international humanitarian law and human rights provide any protection when the « war on terror » is at stake? The author deals with this subject taking into account the situation of people who were captured by the American army in Afghanistan and detained in Guantanamo bay.

In its first part, this thesis aims at analysing what status can be granted to Guantanamo Bay detainees under the rules provided by international humanitarian law. In particular it highlights the fact that « Taliban » and « Al Qaida » members are two distinct groups that should be analysed according to their specificities. The Bush administration’s point of view is presented and critiqued, taking into account the position of the doctrine.

In its second part, the author examines the United States’ treatment of Guantanamo detainees under the provisions of human rights law, focussing on the difficulties resulting from the prohibition of
torture and the modern forms it may take. An important question is raised: does international and domestic law provide flexibility around such practises?

In its last part, this study provides a qualitative interpretation of the United State’s position that international law provides an inadequate legal framework to face the challenges resulting from the global war against terrorism. The author seeks to understand whether or not the situation of Guantanamo detainees shows the limits of the existing legal framework. Particular emphasis is given to the status of prisoner of war in order to understand whether it is an advantageous status whose application undermines the security of the United States.

Read the full thesis (in French).