Appeal For Help
Undeclared sectarian war and bloodshed are still underway in
Below are the details of this ongoing war:
On March 2, 2006, an envoy of the Voice of Freedom for Human Rights and the Red Crescent visited
on February 27, 2006, Al-Fursan village was attacked by hordes of men in black, who were driving cars of the ministry of interior and state-backed militias. A large number of the villagers fled their homes. Eight people, including the Imam of the village mosque, whose name is Abu Aisha, and a ten year-old boy called Adnan Midab, were executed. Please find the attached photograph of the room in which Adnan was hiding and was later killed. A number of dead animals (sheep, cows and dogs) were also shot at by the attackers.
The village mosque was sabotaged and burned down like almost all the houses in the village. When the relief workers and VOF envoy were in the village, four men, who were hiding outside the village came back stealthily to recount the details of the attack. They stated that the perpetrators used machinegun, Kalashnikov, explosives and fuel to carry out the attacks. Given the fact that the villagers thought that it was the security forces, they did not take any precautionary measures to protect themselves.
The aforementioned men, who were hiding outside the village showed us where the dead bodies of men, women and a child were buried.
We saw the room, where ten-year old Adnan Midab was shot dead. We also saw the burned down cars of the villagers.
Young men stated that they have been repeatedly harassed in order to force them in to leaving their village. After this attack, all the remaining families left to other places in Dyala and
We have taken photographs of a large number of places in the village. There is a number of isolated predominantly Sunni villages (Al-Batta, Al-Mujamma’, etc), whose people were harassed by men of the ministry of interior and militias, backed by foreigners. The latter villages are attacked on a regular basis, but it was impossible for our staff to get into them, due to security restrictions.
The above is but the tip of the iceberg. These practices are organized and carried out on a regular basis within towns, rural villages and suburbs. Civilians are asking for international forces to protect them.
It is worth noting that the authorities are turning a blind eye on the perpetrators and terrorists who have been carrying out these attacks. Failure to protect the civilians will only make things worse.
The coercive displacement practiced by the ministry of interior, the state-backed militias and foreigners against the people of Nahrawan is on t he increase. The number of the Sunni families who have fled their homes is as follows:
Jabir Hummadi Village, 60 families,
Shakha Village No. 5, 12 families
Shakha Village No. 7, 30 families
Jasim Ibrahim Al-Battawi Village, 33 families,
Al-Mujamma’ Village, 100 families.
The tragedy is mounting. People are deprived of basic needs. The aid workers are helpless. The UN and humanitarian NGOs must act and do the following:
a) Send a Fact Finding Committee of the UN, the Arab League or International Organizations.
b) Send Peacemaking forces to protect the civilians and put an end to genocides, sectarian cleansing and coercive displacement.
c) Control the east borders of
d) ; Launch a relief program by neutral trusted parties.
Abdul Wahab Al Obeidi
IS BUSH GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
THE EVIDENCE IS IN... THE FINAL VERDICT WILL BE RELEASED SOON...
The Bush Crimes Commission is launching a nation-wide campus tour this week, starting at UC Berkeley -- Speaking the Unspeakable: Is the Bush Administration Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? This is a tour of prominent whistleblowers, eye-witnesses, victims and experts, including excerpts of testimony on video that reveal the stark reality of the Bush Administrations' war crimes and crimes against humanity -- acts that, by their scale or nature, shock the conscience of humankind.
This is a tour of truth tellers. To quote Michael Ratner from this
second session: "And so, as [Bertrand] Russell said then, we say today: we are putting the Bush administration on trial. We investigate in order to expose; we document in order to indict; we arouse consciousness in order to create mass resistance. ... Our country and our world are at a tipping point. Tipping toward permanent war, the end of human rights, and the impoverishment and death of millions. We still have a chance, an
opportunity to stop this slide into chaos. But it is up to us."
It IS up to us. Your assistance is needed to make this tour possible.
This spring we are focusing on the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Los
* HELP BUILD THIS TOUR. Send in or write to your contacts in colleges
* Help with publicity for this tour.
* If you can type, contact the National Office (email@example.com or
212-941-8086) to help with transcription of the first session of the
* If you can edit video, please contact us.
* And especially, make your financial contribution on line at
www.nion.us/NSOC/sign.htm or send your check payable to Not In Our Name SOC and mail to Not In Our Name SOC, 305 West Broadway #199,
Janet Yip for
The Bush Crimes Commission
Below is a sample of the powerful testimony presented at the
Commission. This is an excerpt from Vanessa Brocato's testimony on Indictment #4 Global HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Rights policies, especially the genocidal effects of imposing abstinence-only in the midst of an AIDS pandemic. Vanessa is an International Policy Associate for SIECUS and author of SIECUS PEPFAR [the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief] Country Profiles: Focusing In on Prevention and Youth:
"Though the abstinence-only until marriage programs have been
funded in the U.S. since 1981, and have been the focal point of domestic policy, since Bush entered office in 2000, the Bush Administration has the gall to claim in the media and in policy documents, that the PEPFAR prevention strategy is based on the Uganda model.
ideological and political battling. By claiming the approach is based on the
"But interestingly, under this ostensibly indigenous approach,
funds to deliver abstinence-only until marriage programs go to mainly
misrepresent, there are some local organizations receiving funds, and some HIV/AIDS organizations that used to do comprehensive prevention work, but are now turning to an abstinence-only approach just to receive really badly needed funds. In other cases, the Bush Administration is able to tap into local Christian fundamentalist movements to both implement and support an abstinence-only policy.
"The few organizations with contracts with USAID that predate
PEPFAR, which are trying to maintain their comprehensive programming, are now coming under attack by the most conservative elements of our
Congress. Their funding is threatened, even if they follow abstinence guidelines, because they are not considered morally capable, sufficiently ideologically in sync, to provide what proponents call, authentic abstinence education.
"PEPFAR has the ominous potential of making large scale impact.
And we already have evidence of the
derailing good public programming and policy. In
Administration has played a major role in reversing the country's HIV prevention approach. The main program for information on sexuality and HIV prevention in
as basic information about sexual health, information on resisting peer pressure to engage in sexual activity, condom use, and human rights.
The materials were the basis for monthly HIV/AIDS related assemblies in
assistance with the development, revision, and distribution of the PI
ASCY materials. But
has resulted in the removal of critical HIV information and the addition of misinformation in these very same primary school curricula. This includes perpetuating myths about condoms and promoting marriage as a protective factor, regardless of the documented risks of HIV infection within marriage."
Read Vanessa's full testimony on line at
Taha Yasin Ramadhan tells the details of his imprisonment, the tortures he endured and the sessions of the interrogation - tortures he suffered.
* Traitors of the Kurdistani Union raided my home in Mosul. They kidnapped one of my children before I came forward to face them!
* The US interrogations-tortures sessions concentrated on asking me about the place where his Excellency President Saddam Hussein was staying, and I always told them: I don't know!
* When I was on the verge of death due to tortures, they told me: "We shall not let you die, rather we will take you to die then, we will bring you back.."
* I told the US interrogators-torturers that your tortures are ten fold more horrible than the ones I endured during Abdelkarim Qassim and Abdelsalam Arif eras!
* A US interpreter from an Arab origins saved my life, for he secretly provided me with some food from time to time!
* They proposed to me to collaborate in order to detain his Excellency President Saddam Hussein and then to let me free. When I refused they said: "You will stay jailed for ever."
The Magazines "al Majd" and "Al Moharer" are utterly honored to be the confidence forum of the detained legitimate Iraqi Leadership symbols who chose to use them to get in touch with the Arab and foreign opinion. As President Saddam Hussein has already sent, through the lawyer Khalil al Dulaimy, his greetings and appreciation to these two national tribunes, his Mujahid deputy Izzat al Duri, the Commander of the Triumphant Iraqi Resistance, too, chose these two Magazines, as the first tribune, to address the Arab people after a long time of clandestine life and secrecy..
Today, the jailed Leader-Commander Taha Yasin Ramadhan, the Iraqi legitimate Vice-President, chose to send the first message he was able to leak from behind the US jail bars to the "Al Majd" and its sister "Al Moharer" to be published in order to divulge the various horrible ways and means of the US tortures and expose the US lies about justice, democracy and human rights..
Here is the full text of this very moving letter indeed written by the jailed Vice-President:
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
((Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods. Lives and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently preserve.))
(God is trustworthy is his words)
Some weeks ago, you were able to read my letter in which I described the unbelievable hardships and ordeals suffered by the prisoners and detainees at the hands of the US authorities who continue to defy the Geneva Conventions, mainly the Third and the Fourth conventions in reference to the physical torture we endured specially during the first twenty two days of our detention.
I spoke to more than one US interrogator and to the Red Cross representatives during the first visit they made to us, in great detail about the bizarre tortures. I found here, convenient to reveal To Whom It May Concern and in particular to those interested in Human Rights and people of good will everywhere and especially among our nation. These torture practices show the unbelievable hatred and the immense rancor US carry to every Arab and every Moslem who is loyal to his homeland and to his nation and who rejects servility and puppetry and cares about the security of his brethren and is proud of his dignity. This will let you discover the US utter evil intentions against our people and against our nation. What is happening now on the soil of Iraq such as tearing away the country, planting the seeds of sectarianism and racism is a horrid example, which absolutely shows how the US looks down at the Arabs. That is why it is necessary to be careful and bear full responsibility right now, and from this very moment, towards what is happening in Iraq.
I have chosen the title of 22 days in a US holiday resort for the torture duration practiced against us during this period, and I shall try as far as I can to be brief, for in those twenty two days we have endured a lot of physical and moral tortures and we will explain the nature of the questions asked in the beginning of every torture sessions which went on for hours. We will tell of their complete details in the coming appropriate time, God willing.
22 days in a (US holiday resort)
The period in between the 17/8/2003 and 9/9/2003 is a period where it was revealed to me or rather, where I personally discovered, and closely touched the human feelings and the respect of human rights either small or great of a US male or female. In the light of what we heard, and what other brothers outside the prison camps heard, the US Media talk about their values and principles, defending with uttermost strength the human rights in the world, however, in Iraq, after occupying this independent country without any legal ground and using the Weapon of Mass destruction lie as an excuse., today the US says they are defending the Human rights and establishing a democracy in Iraq, so it will be a beacon for the region.
Here I would like to give my brothers just one example among others, of our suffering between 17/8/2003 and 9/9/2003 concerning the US treatment of a human being who is 65 years old, with the known position and history he had on the Iraqi and Arab levels for at least forty years. Yes I did say after these events, after less than a week, to a US interrogator-jailer, or rather to two of the US interrogators, that the tortures I suffered at their hands while I was sixty five years old, are ten folds more horrible than the tortures I personally endured for three consecutive times at the hands of Abdelkarim Qassim and Abdelsalam Arif when I was 20, 24 and 25 years old! This will allow you to have an idea about the horrible modern ways of US tortures in the twenty first century.
These are the details of what tortures I have endured in this US holiday resort for twenty two ongoing days! This time, the US holiday resort was located in Iraq at the Baghdad International Airport, after Iraq become under the US supervision and military occupation.
At about ten o'clock on the evening of 17/8/2003, while I was with my children at a residential area in Mosul, the proud City of the leaning minaret, al Hadbaa, the hometown of my birth, my home was encircled by the traitors Kurdistani Union Party collaborators who pushed their way inside, detained my little child Omar who was then eleven years old and threatened to murder him, had I not come forward, and asked them to leave him alone.
Then they led me to a nearby location, after stealing my hand watch, a wedding ring, and a golden necklace. Everything I had! Then I was rushed into a US armored vehicle that e went speeding immediately towards Mosul airport. I was taken into a helicopter. My hands were tied behind my back, my feet were also tied, I was blindfolded, and a long bag was placed on my head. I was attached in this position to the airplane seat by the chest and my feet were tied to the chair too. There were four guards standing at my head because I was able to distinguish their voices. The helicopter left to Baghdad and I think that we arrived at about two o'clock after midnight, wearing only my dishdasha.
The helicopter landed! They untied my feet and left my hands tied behind my back, and my eyes remained blindfolded! I was taken to a place some twenty meters further, I think, there they lifted up the blind folds from my eyes and the bag from my head. I found myself in a room with four officers and two US soldiers and a translator wearing the US military uniform, one of them was holding a rod made out of aluminum. They immediately ordered me saying: "kneel down"! I told them how can I! My hands are tied behind my back!" They untied my hands. When I knelt down they asked me one single question: "Where is Saddam Hussein?" I said:" I don't know!" Immediately after I finished my word the beating started with the aluminum rod and I was thrown to the prison concrete floor. Then they said:” Crawl!" This went on for about two hours. In the meantime blood came flowing from my wrists and my knees… Every fifteen minutes they would repeat the same question: "Where is Saddam Hussein? You have to help us detain him!" When I told them:” I don't know and that was the mere truth!" they started to beat me with the rod. They were hitting me hard, using their feet against my waist and striking my loins. One of the officers said: “He can't crawl, that must be his dishdasha which is preventing him from doing so!" One of the soldiers drew up his bayonet and tore up my dishdasha turning it into strips. I became almost naked.
I asked him for some water to drink! They answered:” right away!" They didn't let me get up and kept me on the floor. They lift up my head and put the water bottle in my mouth, then I discovered it was hot water! I restrained from drinking it and I told them:" I would like some cold water!" They said:"right away!" Here I felt some ice cold water being poured on my back and on my body which gave me a strange quiver and a bizarre shiver while I was abundantly sweating. They said:"This is the cold water you asked for! We will continue to do so because you are not telling us where Saddam Hussein is!" After two more hours, they made me stand up and put the bag on my head after blindfolding me and tying my hands again. Then they led me to another room some steps further. I felt that the four interrogators-jailers left and other guards I (knew) through their voices took over. When I wanted to sit down I was prevented from doing so. I was asked to walk forwards and backwards in the room, every time getting knocked down against the walls because I couldn't see anything and I couldn't feel with my hands for they were tied up behind my back. This went on for many hours until I couldn't feel any longer the sole of my feet. I asked to go to the water closet and no one paid attention to me despite the fact that ten hours have passed of detention, tortures and transfer by air. Because I lost consciousness, my urine came down while I was standing. When the US soldiers saw this they immediately came, knocked me down and drew me from the neck ups and downs on the urine while I was almost naked as I mentioned already, because my dishdasha was torn to pieces, until they dried up the urine on the floor using my own body. I was semi conscious.
After that, they asked me to stand up. After many minutes and a great deal of efforts I could hardly stand up. The US soldiers refused purposely to help me stand up on my feet! They forced me to continue going backwards and forwards and after an hour they took me to the water closets, they lifted the bag from my head but didn't untie my hands so I couldn't do anything. They took me back to the room without being able to fulfill my need because they kept my hands cuffed inspite of my insisting to undo them. Few hours later the four US interrogators came. One of them was a translator as I mentioned. They led me to the first room and repeated the same question saying: "Have you given yourself a good thought to tell us where is Saddam Hussein so we can let you free?" I told them:” I don't know and that was the truth."
They said we will take you with us in an airplane and you will show us the places where Saddam Hussein might be staying!" I told them:” I will not do this, for this behavior is none of my nature! Others might be assigned to such mission, anyway I don't know where he can possibly be or the places where he is expected to stay!" They went on asking me to stay kneeling on the ground and to crawl upwards and downwards as in the first time. I was awfully exhausted, I could hardly breathe, and I thought that my death hour was approaching! Then I raised my finger and I pronounced the Shahada (La Ilaha illa Allah wa Mohammad Rasul Allah: every Muslim utters to ascertain his faith before his death - a translator notice) As it appeared, the translator told the interrogators what I meant by that. I saw one soldier putting his foot on my finger squashing it so cruelly as he wanted to break it while it was wounded and bleeding and said :"Don't do that, we will not let you die! Rather we will take you to die and then bring you back and so on and so forth until you answer our demands and collaborate with us, because there are others who agreed to cooperate without being forced or without being tortured to avoid your present state!" I told them what is the cooperation and who are the collaborators?" They mentioned two names of the brothers! I don't find it convenient to mention their names here. They said:" Cooperate with us and answer the questions we ask you!" The first question is:" Will you help us detain Saddam Hussein because you are his deputy, one of his closest collaborators and his colleague for the last forty years." I told them: "If I don't know, and I can't possibly cooperate with you, what are you going to do?" They told me:"You will stay in this situation forever!"
Two hours passed by and the blood was flowing from my hands and my feet, while they continued pouring frozen water on my body and was led back to the room to walk backwards and forwards as before. I started to lose consciousness, was knocked down and fell to the floor. The US soldiers asked me to get up on my own, beating me up, swearing and uttering degrading and debased terms.
Two days later, I think, they put a bag of canned food in front of me and allowed me to see. They said:"This is your food!" I said to them:" Untie my hands!" They said:"No!" I said:"How can I open the bag and eat the food?" They said:"You are free; you have ten minutes to decide. Then we will blindfold you and put the bag again on your head!" And they did it effectively. I didn't eat any food. After few hours the four came, I mean the four interrogators-jailers plus the translator and asked: "Have you eaten?" I said:"No! I couldn't and also I don't like this kind of food, if some local food is available, I wish a piece of khoobz - Iraqi bread - a cup of tea or a boiled egg!" They said: "That is our food; you must eat it if you like!" The translator started to open one of the cans and tried to put the food into my mouth, because they refused to untie my hands: Then I was left alone. After three days or so without sitting on the ground, continuing to crawl and to walk backwards and forwards. I was about to collapse! Later on I was told that I was allowed to go to the water closets once every twenty four hours. They put a tiny little water bottle 3/4 litre in the room, it was to drink water and to wash after being at the water closets. So for 22 days I was never been able to wash or to put any water on my face or my body.
On the fourth day they took me to another room a few steps away from mine and lifted the bag from over my head. I found myself in front of other interrogators-jailers different than the previous four criminal ones. They were three plus a translator from the town of Haditha. I knew he was of Arab origins holding a US nationality and wore US (military) uniform. This time they allowed me to sit on a chair and they sat down also on chairs and there were desks to write. They spoke to me normally and to begin with, asked the same question concerning the place of President Saddam Hussein, but this time inquiring about the details when I met with him the last time and where and with whom. The interrogation went on for about two hours to no avail. I was taken back to my room with the bag on my head, and was forced to walk backwards and forwards. The next day I met again with this interrogator’s committee. This time they wanted to know how and where I was staying during the last four months. They tried to find out who cooperated with us or who helped us to hide, but they didn't succeed. I was led again back to my room and I think this lasted for about a week. The same torture and inhumane treatment, three times meeting with this new interrogation committee, plus the first committee with the known ways and means of torture I explained earlier.
One day I was surprised when one of the four, the rod holder, because I couldn't forget his face, came forward and told me:"You are allowed to sit but you are not allowed to lie down!" When I sat at the corner of the room as I changed positions because I was incredibly exhausted, I felt asleep immediately. The US soldier came at once to wake me up. So every time I fell asleep, the guards came to wake me up.
On the day I was allowed to sit down, I was transferred also to the room to crawl on the floor and to be beaten up and was asked another bizarre question about the US pilot who was downed during the 1991 aggression in the Iraqi desert. They said:"He is alive and is imprisoned in your jails and you have to tell us where he is!" I told them:" I don't know any thing about this!" The torture went on again and I was forced to crawl and was beaten up and this time for about another week...
My dear brothers, I really don't want to annoy you with this old same torture story! It was all the same torture routine. At the end of the week they started to ask a third question:" Tell us the names of the Resistance Fedayeen leaders in Mosul and in Baghdad because you were in charge of all that and mainly in Mosul." I said to them: "I don't know anything and I have no idea of what you are talking about! During that time I disappeared and I couldn't move!" They started again to beat me up and torture me and forced me to crawl as I already mentioned... They kept on chopping and changing about this question. One time asking me to divulge four names and another two names and finally they said:" Tell us only one single name! We will not say that you are the one who told us about him! “I told them: "You are being unfair with the torture you are inflicting upon me, and I am honestly not ready to be unjust with anybody I don't know to be brought and tortured by you." This situation went on for about five days, when they came and told me that they had the most important question to ask: "If only you cooperated with us, they said, to mention one single real name, we will let you free in three days time." Then I was abandoned.
I would like here to tell for the History records how I lived without food and without touching the food bag they were giving me daily. On the fourth or the fifth day in my room where I was forced to walk backwards and forwards, while my eyes were still blindfolded the translator of Arab origin who was with the second committee, came into my room and said calmly and literally: "Mr. Taha why aren't you eating your food!" adding:" Not eating your food might harm your health!" He said so while I had my eyes blindfolded. I told him:" I don't like this food; you know the taste of our food! we Arabs and in Iraq! Please if you can help with a piece of Khoobz or anything, if not a boiled egg, some jam!" He replied!”I do understand you!" Effectively after two hours he brought two pieces of khoobz and some jam in a tiny jar. Almost every day he came swiftly to bring the khoobz, a packet of juice or a cake before disappearing. More than once he brought a cup of tea after greeting me and immediately leaving. Finally I told him:" Shall I stay almost naked this way? Don't you have a dishdasha or anything I could put on?" He said:" I will try my best!" Yes! Two days before leaving the place, he brought me a blue tracksuit with underwear and a jumper I put on straight away!
In the third week I was transferred to another room and they put on the floor a mattress and they said:"You may lie on!" The room was 1,5X1 meter only and I had when lying down to put my head on the step and hold my legs against the wall. The room was far too small for me!
During these days I couldn't distinguish between day and night because the electric lights were always on. Being without a watch, no one would answer my question about the time, the day and the date.
One day came the US translator of Arab origin. He looked happy and told me: "Mr. Taha you will be transferred in a few minutes to a better place where you will meet your brothers and you will distinguish between day and night!" I told him:" Thank you! Tell me what today’s date is?" He answered:" Today is the 9/9/2003!" I said to him:" You mean I have been here since the last twenty two days!" He left the room at once. In less than five minutes, soldiers came and blindfolded, handcuffed me and led me to a car and after some ten minutes drive, we reached (Crowbar imprisonment camp). I was handed over to the Camp’s authorities. They lifted the black plastic bag off my head and untied my hands, after registering my name. The group which led me from the (US resort) to Camp Crowbar left the place. While another gang led me with my hands free to my room which is one of Camp Crowbar solitary room measuring some 2X6metres, and doesn't have any windows. There are two tiny holes on the door which (often) are kept open. But as far as I am concerned as soon as I got to the room they sealed completely the two openings and I was kept for three whole months without any contacts with any of the brothers when they went outside in groups for the daily exercise. They opened the door every twenty four hours allowing me half an hour exercise on my own and to go to the water closets twice a day each lasting ten minutes and in different times.
The second day of my arrival to Camp Crowbar they started to interrogate me again. I asked the interrogators, why was I isolated from the others and why the door openings were sealed because this started to badly affect my health." They answered:" You will have to cooperate!"
Talking about this subject would take a long time... I hope to get another opportunity in the future for that. In Crowbar Camp, the moral torture after the physical torture in the (US democratic resort) started.
Here I shall stop and I apologize again for taking such long time and this without mentioning a great deal of the ways and means of torture and the horrible debased insults and degrading talk I heard from the US soldiers and officers, while they were beating and banging the door with hands and rods, day and night, not to mention the fearsome and loud music, the noises of animals and savage dogs that I heard non stop day and night with the effect and influence they have which no less than that of physical torture. This was for you to know how the biggest country in the world excels into developing and upgrading the methods and arts of torturing, this same country which claims to defend Human Rights in the world and threatens any government under the cover of human rights abuse and ill treatment and never stops talking about democracy.
Statement on events in Samarra and across Iraq:
Occupying powers are responsible for the protection of, and imputable for the destruction of, religious shrines
Destruction of Al-Askari Mosque a "war crime" under international la w
Occupying powers legally bound to protect civilian life
The United States and other parties of Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) remain belligerent occupants under international law. Given that UN Security Council Resolution 1546 only "welcomed" the interim government in Iraq formed June 2004, that it did not recognize it formally, and could not, because it has no legal basis in international law and is not recognized as legitimate by the resistance to foreign occupation, MNF-I is legally responsible for the whole of Iraq. This legal responsibility extends 31 December 2006, as set forth in UN Security Council Resolution 1637. As an occupying power, the United States and other parties to the occupation are legally, individually and severally, responsible for the protection of religious shrines, and imputable under international law, individually and severally, for the criminal destruction of shrines.
The destruction of Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, represents yet another breach of the obligations of occupying powers under international humanitarian law.
Applicable international law
Under the provisions of the Hague IV Conventions on Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1917, Article 56 states: "The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State propert y, shall be treated as private property. All seizure of, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings." Further, Article 55 establishes that: " The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct."
Further, an occupying power is obliged, according to Articles 43 and 46, to protect life and take all steps in its power to reestablish and ensure "public order and safety".
In addition, The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 1954, (to which several members of MNF-I are State Parties) creates a clear obligation to protect "monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular". Article 4, paragraph 1 notes: "The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect cultural property situated within their own territory as well as within the territory of other High Contracting Parties by refraining from any use of the property and its immediate surroundings or of the appliances in use for its protection for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict; and by refraining from any act of hostility, directed against such property."
Article 4, paragraph 5, states: "No High Contracting Party may evade the obligations incumbent upon it under the present Article ("Respect for Cultural Property"), in respect of another High Contracting Party, by reason of the fact that the latter has not applied the measures of safeguard referred to in Article 3 ("Safeguarding of Cultural Property")."
The Republic of Iraq has been a High Contracting Party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property since 1967, along with several parties of MNF-I.
Article 53 of the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, 1977, reaffirms these obligations, expressly noting that it is prohibited to: " (a) to commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples; (b) to use such objects in support of the military effort; (c) to make such objects the object of reprisals." The United Kingdom, along with several other members of MNF-I (excluding the US) is a State Party to the 1st Additional Protocol.
Article 5 of The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property deals explicitly with occupation. Paragraph 1 states: "Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property." Paragraph 2 states: "Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measure s, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation."
Conclusion: Destruction of Al-Askari Mosque is a "war crime"; occupation must protect civilian lives
Given that there is no government in Iraq that is recognized as legitimate by the resistance to the occupation, there is no sovereign Iraq outside the resistance at this present time. In the absence of a sovereign Iraqi government, it is the occupying powers of MNF-I that are legally responsible to protect religious and cultural sites of historic significance, like Al-Askari Mosque in Sammara. Their failure to do so — in being a violation of the l aws or customs of war — is a "war crime" under the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950.
We remind all occupying powers in Iraq that they are legally duty-bound, under the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocols, to protect civilian lives in Iraq.
The BRussells Tribunal stands against all attempts to incite religious sectarian strife aimed at dividing the people of Iraq.
The government cannot make Saddam Hussein or anybody else a boogey man and focus
"Our fight is not in
(To read the Arabic translation of the above article go to: iraq4ever)