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Iraq Seen in Violation of Geneva Convention - 2003-03-24


Pictures of American POWs and American casualties shown on Al Jazeera television are being seen as serious violations of the Geneva Convention which governs the conduct of war.

Carol Pearson spoke to an expert on the Geneva Convention and has this report.

Sunday President Bush said the United States is treating Iraqi prisoners of war humanely and he expects the same treatment for American POW’s. The Geneva Convention grew out of World War Two.

The Convention is a series of international treaties one deals specifically with the treatment of prisoners of war.

EUGENE FIDELL, FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MILITARY JUSTICE
“Basically it provides protection for people who are taken into custody during armed combat, specifically members of armed forces who are taken into custody.”

Eugene Fidell founded the National Institute of Military Justice, an independent organization made up of military lawyers and scholars of military law. He says the convention on the treatment of prisoners of war requires that prisoners be treated with dignity . They cannot be killed or made a public spectacle.

He says even though Iraq has not ratified the Geneva Convention, which it signed in 1956, it is still bound to honor it.

Yesterday, Iraq’s Ambassador to the United Nations said his country was indeed in compliance. Pictures of Iraqi prisoners have also been shown in the American media.

Mr. Fidell says some of the pictures in the American press are questionable, even if it is part of a news report, because it may pander to public curiosity.

And he says, some of Iraq’s battlefield tactics are clearly in violation of international law.

EUGENE FIDELL, FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MILITARY JUSTICE
“False surrenders or abusing a flag of truce…these are classic war crimes. You cannot do that for purposes of trickery or establishing an ambush.

That, he emphasized, is a classic war crime.

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