The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
2004 Prize awarded to The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) in honour of Jean-Jacques Gautier
Thursday, February 26, 2004 at 6:00 pm, Uni-Bastion, Geneva
A vibrant tribute to which were associated our Geneva political authorities, Martine Brunschwig-Graf, State Councillor of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, Christian Ferrazino, Mayor of the City of Geneva, Leila Benkirane, who spoke on behalf of Sergei Ordhonikidze, Director General of the United Nations Office and finally Theo van Boven, Special Rapporteur on Torture of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Throughout his career, Jean-Jacques Gautier (1912-1986) carried out activities in favor of the most disadvantaged and gradually devoted his entire time to them. His writings bear witness to the humanist spirit that was his and that fit perfectly into the tradition known as the “Spirit of Geneva”:
“Torture appeared to me more and more as the absolute weapon in the service of the powers of evil and also as the shame of the century. So, when I am asked how I came to deal with torture, I am tempted to answer: how can one not deal with torture”.
“Obviously, I had doubts and sometimes a certain anxiety at the idea of devoting most of my time to it. Wasn’t there a guilty pride in wanting to undertake a personal fight against this hideous monster? Would I have the psychological and moral strength? Only a long reflection and an obstinate prayer allowed me little by little to familiarize myself with the subject in all serenity”.