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Iraq Prisoners Tried By Occupiers

Iraqi civilians held prisoners by U.S. forces

by Alaa Abul Eneen

www.Islamonline.net 19 April 2003.
www.globalresearch.ca   20 April 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ENE304A.html

Cairo, April 19 (Islamonline.net) - As part of "liberating" Iraqis, U.S. occupation forces are trying more than 6850 Iraqis, in a move branded by international law experts as stark violation of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of PoWs by the occupation power.

The Pentagon announced Saturday, April 19, that American military tribunals were set up in Iraq to try Iraqi PoWs.

"A prisoner of war must not be put on trial unless he commits a war crime as stipulated by the Geneva Convention on the treatment of PoWs," stressed Ahmed Abu el-Wafa, Professor of International Law, Cairo University.

In exclusive statements to IslamOnline.net over the phone, the expert asserted that the "1949 Third Geneva Convention states that it is impermissible to put a PoW on trial unless he has committed a war crime.

"Instead, the convention stipulates that PoWs should be treated humanly and should be freed once military operations are over," he added.

The law professor underlined that Iraqis did not commit any war crimes and were simply defending their country against occupation.

"Those people were in a state of legitimate self-defense," he averred.

Abu el-Wafa charged the Anglo-American troops with perpetrating war crimes in Iraq, and demanded that they be put on trial.

He cited, in as an example, the case of Ail Abbas Ismail, the Iraqi child who lost his parents, brothers and sisters as well as his four limbs in an American bombardment of their home.

"The occupier does not have the jurisdiction to try the people of the occupied country," said Muhammad Shawqi Abdelaal, Professor of International Law, Cairo University.

Ail a victim of an American "smart" bomb

In statements to IslamOnline.net, he dismissed as "unfounded" the pretexts propagated by Washington against Iraqi PoWs.

"By talking about tribunals, the United States is placing political considerations over legal ones and is paving the way for Israel to do the same with the Palestinians," underlined the expert.

"Assuming that Iraqi PoWs have -indeed- committed war crimes, the United Stated has no jurisdiction to try them, and must instead forward their cases to the International Criminal Court."

In a bid to save Iraqi PoWs from an unfair trial, Abdelaal called the Arab League to lodge complains with the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly to intervene and stop such trials.

"who is trying who?" Abdelaal wondered.

U.S. military tribunals so far have ruled on the cases of seven people who were taken prisoner, releasing two of them and formally declaring four others as prisoners of war, said Pentagon spokesman Major Ted Wadsworth said.

The seventh prisoner whose case was heard by a military tribunal was determined to be either a doctor or a chaplain and returned to provide services to the prisoner population, he said.

Wadsworth said 925 other people had previously been found to be non combatants and released although not by military tribunals.

Prisoners whose status has not been determined will be treated as prisoners of war until a tribunal decides otherwise, he said.

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