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May 05, 2004

More on Abusing Iraqi Prisoners « GWOT »

Wanna know more? There's lots of info easily available. Remember, every single person in the military gets at least exposed to this in basic training, then once again, annually, and then again before deploying. It is possible to slip through the cracks once, perhaps, but you would have to be deliberately avoiding this sort of education to miss out on it every single time.

Here's a good link on the Laws that the soldiers violated in abusing the prisoners:

Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).

So, sure, according to one principle, the prisoners were not entitled to "Enemy Prisoner of War" status:

Lawful Combatants. A lawful combatant is an individual authorized by governmental authority or the LOAC to engage in hostilities. A lawful combatant may be a member of a regular armed force or an irregular force. In either case, the lawful combatant must be commanded by a person responsible for subordinates; have fixed distinctive emblems recognizable at a distance, such as uniforms; carry arms openly; and conduct his or her combat operations according to the LOAC. The LOAC applies to lawful combatants who engage in the hostilities of armed conflict and provides combatant immunity for their lawful warlike acts during conflict, except for LOAC violations.

So they would fall under one of the following two statuses [statusi? statii? --ed.]:
Unlawful Combatants. Unlawful combatants are individuals who directly participate in hostilities without being authorized by governmental authority or under international law to do so. For example, bandits who rob and plunder and civilians who attack a downed airman are unlawful combatants. Unlawful combatants who engage in hostilities violate LOAC and become lawful targets. They may be killed or wounded and, if captured, may be tried as war criminals for their LOAC violations.

Undetermined Status. Should doubt exist as to whether an individual is a lawful combatant, noncombatant, or an unlawful combatant, such person shall be extended the protections of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention until status is determined. The capturing nation must convene a competent tribunal to determine the detained person’s status.

Then there's this:

Article 17 of GPW provides that “[p]risoners of war who refuse to
answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or
disadvantageous treatment of any kind.” Torture is not permitted in the case of any detainee, regardless of that person’s status.174

Which came from this article from this Military Law page.

Keep in mind that in the United States, there is no Statue of Limitations, violating the Geneva Convention's rules concerning prisoners. Furthermore, capital punishment is one of the possible sentences for grave breaches.

More info from Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949

Art. 13 - Humane treatment of prisoners

Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

Art. 14 - Respect for the person of prisoners

Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honour.

Women shall be treated with all the regard due to their sex and shall in all cases benefit by treatment as favourable as that granted to men.

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.
Posted by Nathan at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

To be filed under "can it get any worse":

The family of the young woman photographed with stacked, nude bodies say she's being used as a "scapegoat", and they are "furious" with the President because evidently the President has "no idea what (the deployed troops) are going through".

Maybe you should have to fill out a questionnaire before you can serve that asks things like: "Do you know what personal accountability is? Does your family?"

Posted by: Jo at May 6, 2004 07:53 AM
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