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Iraq And the Geneva Convention - 2003-03-25


The two protagonists in the Iraqi war, the US-led coalition forces and Iraq, are accusing each other of violations of the Geneva Convention on the Rules of Warfare.

English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey spoke with Nana Asante Bediatuo, an African expert in public international law, from Accra. He said the Geneva Convention stipulates that prisoners of war must be protected, especially against acts of violence and intimidation.

Mr. Bediatuo said from his observations, both the U-S led coalition forces and the Iraqis are in violation of Article 13 of the convention. For example, he said it was wrong for the Iraqis to display and humiliate captured American soldiers on Iraqi television, and it was also an insult for the coalition troops to put captured Iraqis on show with their hands on their heads.

Mr. Bediatuo said the convention has a clause that protects the environment, so it is a breach of the rules of war to use chemical or biological weapons. He said African countries engaged in civil, guerrilla, tribal or religious warfare have a lot to learn from the Geneva Convention.

For example, he said Sierra Leone rebels grossly violated the convention when they amputated the limbs of their enemies during the civil war.

Click the above links to download or listen to Kotey interview.

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