“The ICRC goes places, to places of conflict that no one else can go to. We visit and speak to people that no else can speak to,” said attorney Matthew MacLean, arguing that release of Red Cross records would jeopardize its ability to have confidential dialogues with governments worldwide.
Army Col. James L. Pohl, the judge, heard the arguments on the second day of pretrial hearings in the case of five men accused of funding, training and directing the hijackings that killed 2,976 people in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001. The men chose to skip the hearing, a prerogative the judge granted them, until their actual death-penalty trial begins.
At issue is whether the judge will order the Pentagon to give defense lawyers copies of confidential communications from the Geneva-based organization.
Defense officials want to read them because they may detail what Mohammed and the others told Red Cross representatives about their treatment by the United States. If they are convicted, the communications might help them argue against their execution.