Tuesday, July 11, 2006

George Bush abandons Geneva convention

How many Human Rights violations can the US government commit before they are held accountable for the atrocities of recent war-related activities?

The Geneva Convention, adopted on 12 August, 1949, lays out the laws by which prisoners of war are to be treated at all times.

The laws clearly state that no prisoner of war, or person not involved in active combat at that very moment, must not be subjected to any form of torture, humiliation, mutilation, degradation or execution.

The law is there to say, if someone is not in the process of active war fare, running around with a weapon fighting you or your army, if they are in any way incapacitated from fighting, having had their weapons removed and then locked away in a POW camp, DO NOT HARM THEM!

The US soldiers who tortured prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, subjecting prisoners to sexual humiliation and assault and took photos to prove it, directly violated the Geneva code.

The Prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay without trial, their hands and legs bounds, their faces permanently covered, and their bodies given no place to rest have been subjected to all kinds of torture under the hands of the US government, in yet another severe breech of Geneva laws.

The Bush administration tried to argue that the detainees are not entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention, despite a Prisoner of War who is protected by the convention being defined in the following way:

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.


That pretty much covers every possible base, wouldn’t you say? The convention also says that all prisoners are entitled to protection until "their status has been determined by a competent tribunal." The Guantanamo Bay detainees remain without trial, guilty until proven anything.

Most recent in the news is the rape of a 14 year Iraqi girl (SMH, July 11, 2006) and the murder of her family by Soliders disguised as civilians, who plotted and planned the rape and apparently bothered the young girl before committing this appalling crime. Such attacks on innocent civilians is the embodiment of the US attack on the very idea of maintaining any semblance of decency in times of war.

And yet the US government will be the first to point fingers and bark accusations as soon as any other government dares put a toe over the line. Outrage flares at the idea of any country building nuclear missiles and yet I ask you, which is the only country to EVER use them?


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