News US war crimes or other international law violations?

russ_watters

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In another thread, I posted this:
Though implied by some in this forum, I have yet to see any specific instance where the US has violated the Geneva Convention in Iraq. Requests I have made for specific examples have been rebuffed.
Please note, I am looking for WAR CRIMES. Theoretical future violations of a declaration are not crimes or even possible crimes. I won't limit this to the Geneva Conventions though - any international law will do. Please note however that "declarations" of any kind are *NOT* laws.

For reference, here is the fourth Geneva Convention. http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm

I will concede ONE:
Article 70

Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp, even if it is a transit camp, likewise in case of sickness or transfer to hospital or another camp, every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family, on the one hand, and to the Central Prisoners of War Agency provided for in Article 123, on the other hand, a card similar, if possible, to the model annexed to the present Convention, informing his relatives of his capture, address and state of health. The said cards shall be forwarded as rapidly as possible and may not be delayed in any manner.
I tend to doubt anyone will be charged for it though. I'll limit (for now) the sarcasm about that particular article to that sentence. Flat out - its a joke. Too specific and impractical to be useful.

Given the depth of the inuendo, I'd expect there to be something a little jucier.
 

GENIERE

Russ, I’m sure there have been violations of various laws and conventions. I don’t know of any, I just assume there have been. The violations may have occurred through an individual’s deliberate action or by neglect or through ignorance. What is certainly true and is quite obvious to an objective observer is that if violations did occur, it is definitely contrary to US policy. No nation is more concerned with protecting the rights of individuals than the US.
 
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Iraq: Continuing failure to uphold human rights


Published


(Baghdad) After more than 100 days of occupation, the promises of human rights for all Iraqis have yet to be fulfilled, Mahmoud Ben Romdhane Amnesty International's head of delegation to Iraq said.

Speaking at the launch of a Memorandum on concerns relating to law and order, he continued: "The Iraqi people have suffered for long enough - it is shameful to still hear of people who are being detained in inhumane conditions without their family knowing where they are and with no access to a lawyer or a judge - often for weeks on end."

Dr Suhail Laibi and his son, Ahmad, were detained on 15 May 2003 for having a pistol in their car. Dr Suhail was released from Abu Ghraib Prison on 14 June 2003 and was told that his son had been transferred to Nassiriya. On his arrival there, he found no information about his son and an officer warned him against going to the prison camp because he might be arrested. Continuing his search on his return to Baghdad, Dr Suhail was finally informed by an officer that his son was in Camp Bucca. But this same officer had no idea where this was. After 66 days in detention, Ahmad was finally released on 20 July.

Former detainees told Amnesty International that people detained by Coalition Forces were held in tents in the extreme heat and were not provided with sufficient drinking water or adequate washing facilities. They were forced to use open trenches for toilets and were not given a change of clothes - even after two months' detention.

The organization has investigated a number of cases of unlawful detention. These result from the failure of Coalition Forces to implement promptly release orders issued by Iraqi examining magistrates, before the approval of a senior military official.

"This is a flagrant breach of the rule of law," said Amnesty International delegate Curt Goering.

Amnesty International has received reports of torture or ill-treatment by Coalition Forces. Reported methods include prolonged sleep deprivation, prolonged restraint in painful positions -- sometimes combined with exposure to loud music, prolonged hooding and exposure to bright lights.

Khreisan Khalis Aballey, 39, and his father, 80, were arrested at their home on 30 April. Khreisan was hooded and handcuffed and made to stand or kneel facing a wall for nearly eight days while he was being interrogated. He suffered from sleep deprivation as a bright light was placed next to his head and distorted music was playing. His knees bled so he mostly stood and by the end he said his leg was swollen to the size of a football. His father was held in the cell next to him and could hear his son's screams.

"Many of the Coalition soldiers and military police engaged in law enforcement do not have basic skills and tools in civilian policing or to be aware of the law they are supposed to be applying," Curt Goering said.

People interviewed by Amnesty International described how soldiers smashed their way into cars and cupboards even when their owners offered keys. There are also numerous reports of confiscation of property, including large sums of money, upon arrest. This property is not returned upon release.

In one case, US officers accepted that there was evidence that a crime had been committed by officers who removed more than three million dinars (2000 US dollars) from a family home. Officers said that redress would be long and difficult as they lacked the means to find out where the division accused of committing the crime was now stationed.

Amnesty International has documented several incidents of shootings at Iraqi demonstrators by US soldiers in disputed circumstances. While it is true Coalition Forces are dealing with complex situations -- they are still engaged in situations of combat and others where the use of force may be necessary, like the dispersal of violent demonstrators - they must still abide by international standards.

US forces shot 12-year-old Mohammad al-Kubaisi as they carried out search operations around his house on 26 June. That evening, as usual, Mohammad was carrying the family bedding up to the roof when a soldier shot at him from the opposite house. Mohammad was still alive when neighbours tried to rush him by car to the nearby hospital but they were stopped by soldiers in a tank on the way. The soldiers forced the neighbours to the ground and after 15 minutes ordered them to return home because the curfew had started. Mohammad was already dead.

As part of the legal reforms introduced by the Occupying Powers, the Iraqi courts no longer have jurisdiction over any Coalition personnel in relation to civil and criminal matters.

"Given the nature of the allegations emerging from the Occupation of Iraq, the CPA must urgently clarify to the public what are the disciplinary and criminal mechanisms to hold members of the Coalition Provisional Authorities (CAP) and Coalition Forces to account," Mahmoud Ben Romdhane concluded.

"The CPA must carry out competent, independent and impartial investigations into individual cases - nothing less will suffice."

In its memorandum, Amnesty International welcomes some of the measures taken by the US and UK governments, exercising their authority as the occupying powers through the CPA, such as the suspension of the death penalty and the abolition of the Revolutionary Special and National Security Courts -- which were known for their grossly unfair trials.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Judit Arenas on +88 216 2115 9713;
Nicole Choueiry on +88 216 2115 9993.

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE141592003?open&of=ENG-IRQ [Broken]
 
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United States of America: The threat of a bad example


Published


"The very core of American history, law and culture condemns the ideas of punishment before trial, denial of due process and secret government by fiat... Who is an enemy combatant? Today, it can be anyone the president wants. And that is terrifying." A former judge on the Superior Court of New Jersey.


The US has displayed a troubling tendency to seek unchallengeable executive power for itself in the context of its "war on terror". It has created a parallel justice system in which the executive has the power to detain, interrogate, charge or try suspects under the "laws of war", Amnesty International said as it published a new report today.
"All too often where the US leads others follow - increasingly by using the language of "war", governments have disregarded human rights obligations; by using the term "terror" they have endeavoured to avoid international human rights law; and by using the phrase "war on terror", they have challenged the very framework of human rights and international humanitarian law."

In the report -- The Threat Of A Bad Example: Undermining International Standards As "War On Terror" Continues-- Amnesty International calls on governments everywhere to ensure that a strict respect for human rights principles remains at the heart of their search for justice and security. The report highlights issues relating to foreign detainees in US custody outside the USA, such as those at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the US air base at Bagram, Afghanistan, who have been denied access to their families and legal counsel for over a year now.

"Allegations of abuses such as arbitrary arrests, prolonged incommunicado detention, ill-treatment, interrogations without legal counsel and threats of unfair trials by military bodies are raised each year in the US State Department's reports on human rights practices in other countries," said Amnesty International. "Now they are being made against the US government in the context of its 'war on terror'".

Recent interviews conducted by Amnesty International with some of the few dozen people who have been released from Guantánamo confirm what Amnesty International has feared from the outset -- that the totality of the conditions, including the prolonged indefinite and isolating nature of the detention regime, amounts to an abuse of human rights.

"The USA has variously used hooding, blindfolding, handcuffing, and shackling of detainees in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq."

The persistence of ill-treatment allegations, the lack of access to independent human rights organisations and lawyers who can make their findings public, coupled with the possibility that the USA's understanding of what constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment may not meet international definitions, have left Amnesty International seriously concerned about the treatment of those in US custody.

Ill-treatment also reported to Amnesty International include prolonged sleep deprivation, inadequate exercise provision, prolonged restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music, and exposure to 24-hour lighting. The conditions may also be coercive in the context of the repeated interrogations to which the detainees have been subjected, interrogations which could be used for prosecutorial as well as intelligence-gathering purposes, or for coercing plea bargains.

One released prisoner told Amnesty International that his hours-long interrogations at Guantánamo were "like torture". Another, a taxi driver, Sayed Abassin, told the organization that he had been arrested en route from Kabul to Khost in April 2002, despite explaining that he was just a driver and did not know his passengers. An apparent victim of circumstance, he spent more than a year in US custody, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantánamo. He says that at Bagram Air Base he was held in handcuffs and shackles, kept in 24-hour lighting, deprived of sleep, not given enough food, not allowed to talk or look at other detainees, and forced to stand or kneel for hours. He was finally released from Guantánamo in April 2003, having never had access to a lawyer, court of law or other legal process. He has received no compensation for his ordeal.

"There were no human rights for me in that year," Abassin told Amnesty International. Other released prisoners claimed there were more innocent people held at Guantánamo, arbitrarily arrested and held without evidence of wrongdoing.

Currently, the US plans to try selected detainees in front of military commissions, at which the defendant's right to counsel of choice and to an effective defence will be severely restricted. The commissions, applicable only to non-US nationals, will also allow a lower standard of evidence than would be admissible in the ordinary courts, and will have the power to hand down death sentences. On 3 July President Bush named six foreign nationals who would be the first to appear before the commissions.They include Feroz Ali Abbasi and Moazzam Begg, British nationals and David Hicks, an Australian national.

"It will be a case of second-class justice for foreign nationals in violation of the prohibition on the discriminatory application of fair trial rights," Amnesty International stated.

The report is part of Amnesty International's ongoing efforts to persuade the US authorities to comply with international standards in their response to the atrocities of 11 September 2001. Among recommendations outlined in the report, the organisation is calling on the US government to drop all plans for trials by military commissions, ensure that all detainees are either charged with recognizable criminal offences or released, provide legal counsel to detainees, and treat all detainees humanely, ensuring they are not subjected to any treatment which would violate international law and standards. It also calls on the US government to grant Amnesty International access to detainees and officials at Bagram Air Base and the Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay.

"The administration has sought to insulate its actions from domestic judicial review and from the eyes of the international community. The USA is undermining the rule of law, and setting a dangerous example in so doing," Amnesty International concluded.

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511182003 [Broken]
 
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http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511122003?open&of=ENG-USA [Broken]
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511142003?open&of=ENG-USA [Broken]
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR510452003 [Broken]
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE141572003 [Broken]
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR510532002 [Broken]
http://web.amnesty.org/pages/irq-article_4-eng [Broken]
http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/carpet-area-bomb.html [Broken]

http://www.ccmep.org/usbombingwatch/2003.htm
http://www.iraqbodycount.net/
http://www.iraqbodycount.net/bodycount.htm
http://www.wagner.edu/faculty/users/pjani/casualties_of_iraq_war.htm
http://www.mapbureau.com/usersites/donalda/iraqbodycount/container.html
http://www.providence.edu/mba/goodrich/war/surgical/ [Broken]

INVADING IRAQ WOULD VIOLATE U.S. AND
INTERNATIONAL LAW
Professor Marjorie Cohn
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
JURIST Contributing Editor
Despite opposition by many prominent Republicans, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are mounting an intensive public relations campaign to justify their pre-ordained invasion of Iraq. A preemptive strike against Iraq would violate the Constitution and the United Nations Charter.

Article I, section 8 of the Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to debate and decide to declare war on another country. The War Powers Resolution provides that the “constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories, or possessions or its armed forces.”

Feel free to read the rest at: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/forumnew58.php [Broken]
 
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http://www.lawyersagainstthewar.org/legalaction/lawyerappeal.html
http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde140892003 [Broken]
http://specials.politinfo.com/Latest_Specials/Focus_on_Iraq/The_Case_against_War_on_Iraq/the_case_against_war_on_iraq.html [Broken]
http://specials.politinfo.com/Latest_Specials/Focus_on_Iraq/Crimes_of_War/crimes_of_war.html [Broken]
 
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russ_watters

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Adam, that won't cut it. This is a discussion form. Just like in the atom bomb thread, *YOU* have to make an arguement. I won't search through all of that stuff (though I have read a bunch and found no crimes) and construct your arguement for you.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by GENIERE
Russ, I’m sure there have been violations of various laws and conventions. I don’t know of any, I just assume there have been. The violations may have occurred through an individual’s deliberate action or by neglect or through ignorance. What is certainly true and is quite obvious to an objective observer is that if violations did occur, it is definitely contrary to US policy. No nation is more concerned with protecting the rights of individuals than the US.
I guess thats fair. Individuals in the heat of battle making bad decisions you mean?

I was more looking for direct actions as a matter of US policy though. Something that would implicate the USA, and not just some 19 year old private from Alabama.
 

GENIERE

Well Russ, your challange has been out for a few days now. It looks like you've proven your point. No violations!
 

schwarzchildradius

it doesn't matter if there are charter violations by the US in Iraq because the UN is cowering before the terrorists in Iraq, and complicit in our principally justified but procrastinated (and poorly planned) involvement there. What's happening in Iraq is called a "cluster f***" in military parlance.
 

FZ+

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Schwarzchildradius: This is a waste of time. From the methods of argument used in the other topic, it is quite obvious that the only reasonable conclusion is that Russ_watters believes that no government has ever committed a war crime, and so under his criteria no war crimes have been committed by the US, or any other country.

It you dispute this russ, then give a specific example and I'll show you how, if you are consistent, you would discount it.
 

Zero

Originally posted by russ_watters
I guess thats fair. Individuals in the heat of battle making bad decisions you mean?

I was more looking for direct actions as a matter of US policy though. Something that would implicate the USA, and not just some 19 year old private from Alabama.
Oh, you mean like supplying Saddam Hussien with WMD capabilities?
 

steppenwolf

hahaha nice work zero!

this is a very pointless thread, you don't want anyone to tell you there are war crimes so what the point russ?

i think declaring war on a country wihtout UN backing constitutes by itself a war crime, otherwhise exactly why did we get so mad atgermany in the first world war?
 

kat

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Originally posted by steppenwolf


i think declaring war on a country wihtout UN backing constitutes by itself a war crime, otherwhise exactly why did we get so mad atgermany in the first world war?
I suggest you brush up on your history, the very least of the problems with this comment is that the U.N. did not exist until AFTER the 2nd world war.
 

kat

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Originally posted by Zero
Oh, you mean like supplying Saddam Hussien with WMD capabilities?
I don't believe this fits into war crimes catagory (legally) I'd be interested to see the legal reference that your inferring exists. Also, my understanding of the whole WMD issue is that private corporations gave samples to many countries of certain bacteria that could later be made into WMD's. What were the specifics of this? anyone?
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by FZ+
...it is quite obvious that the only reasonable conclusion is that Russ_watters believes that no government has ever committed a war crime...
this is a very pointless thread, you don't want anyone to tell you there are war crimes so what the point russ?
Well gee, those are quite compelling examples, guys! [/sarcasm]

I issued a fairly straightforward challenge. By choosing to attack me personally instead of adresssing the challenge itself, you don't help prove your point - you help prove MINE.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by schwarzchildradius
it doesn't matter if there are charter violations by the US in Iraq because the UN is cowering before the terrorists in Iraq, and complicit in our principally justified but procrastinated (and poorly planned) involvement there. What's happening in Iraq is called a "cluster f***" in military parlance.
You are probably right - it is probably moot, but I would still expect SOMEONE to voice such a concern. The UN is composed of individual sovereign nations, though people often act like it is a single unified body. Not even one of our bitter enemies (Syria, Jordan, France, etc.) have made any allegations of such crimes. And these guys complain about everything they can.

When the worst that can be said is that we didn't do enough to protect an art museum (a claim later proven wrong due to a misquote by an overeager reporter), that says something about American conduct in war.

There isn't anyone in the world who goes to greater lengths than the US to protect civilians and conduct war as morally as possible.

The US has never been bad when it comes to conduct in war, but we've been worse. After Vietnam and Mai Lai, there was a major effort to fix the problems in the military (Vietnam was the low point for our military probably since the US revolution). Morality and ethics are now a major part of officer and NCO training.
 

FZ+

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No, my challenge has every relevance, because your idea of war crimes is one that is utterly meaningless and not reflected by anyone else. This thread is every bit as futile as one of those creationist "prove evolution correct" websites.
 
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1) Nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

2) Bombing Dresden, Hamburg, and other civilian targets.

3) The slaughter of around 300 civilians in the Blackhawk war.

4) The massacre at Wounded Knee.

5) The bombing of the Al Amirya shelter in Iraq.

There are plenty of examples. One simply needs to have a look at any decent history book. The only problem is that the victors never face war crimes courts. Basically, if you win, you get to tell your own side of the story, and villify the loser.
 

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