Jean-Jacques Gautier (1912-1986) was born in Chêne-Bougeries, Geneva, in a family of prominent bankers.
He studied law and gained a doctors degree. Later he joined the Pictet & Cie private bank and became one of its associates. In parallel with a successful professional and political career, Gautier had a strong commitment to humanitarian ideals and aid for the less privileged.
Amnesty International’s first campaign for the abolition of torture, in 1973, made a strong impression on him. Driven by his Christian beliefs and inspired by the growing anti-torture movement, he decided to take an early retirement to dedicate his life to combating torture. He considered torture “the absolute weapon in the service of the powers of the evil, the shame of our century.”
After substantial research Gautier came up with a new idea - opening up the doors to any place of detention for outside monitoring – with a precise objective: Preventing torture from happening in the first place.
Articles appearing in Le Monde 14-15 August 1983 and La Vie, 22 September 1983.