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Jakob Kellenberger


Jakob Kellenberger (born October 19, 1944 in Heiden, Switzerland) is a Swiss diplomat and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He studied French and Spanish literature as well as linguistics in Zürich, Tours and Granada and gained a doctorate from the University of Zürich. Later, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel.

In 1974, he started his diplomatic career with a position in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. From 1975 until 1984, he served in several diplomatic positions in Madrid, Brussels and London. He then returned to Switzerland to lead the Integration Office, a joint institution of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs responsible for Switzerland's relations with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. From 1989 to 1998 he was the head of several Swiss delegations in official negotiations with the European Union[1].

On August 27, 1998 he was elected as successor of Cornelio Sommaruga as president of the ICRC. He assumed the office in the beginning of the year 2000 after Sommaruga left at the end of 1999. Kellenberger tends to shun the public spotlight more than his predecessor, but he seems comfortable with the dynamics of the ICRC Assembly and is a skilled personal negotiator as evidenced by his work with the E.U.[2] One major achievement during his tenure was the adoption of the third Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions on December 8, 2005, introducing the Red Crystal as a third protective emblem in addition to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. He stated on April 5 2007 that the United States has inadequate procedures to guarantee the human rights of foreign detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. He demanded a "more robust" system to determine whether to release hundreds of men who probably will never face trial.[3]


  1. ^ ICRC. 1 Jan 2006. ICRC presidency.
  2. ^ David P Forsythe. The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross. New York: Cambridge, 2005. 219.
  3. ^ Washington Post. 5 Apr 2007.ICRC Chief Faults Rights Protection at Guantanamo.


  • Jakob Kellenberger: International Humanitarian Law and Other Legal Regimes: Interplay in Situations of Violence. In: International Review of the Red Cross. 851/2003. ICRC, S. 645-653, ISSN 1560-7755
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jakob_Kellenberger". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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