Abu Ghraib abuse against international law: ICRC
Updated: 2006-02-16 20:30
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said
on Thursday the latest images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison
showed clear violations of international humanitarian law.
A TV frame grab shows an image made available
by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) on February 15, 2006, of
what the broadcaster says is a detainee being abused in Iraq's Abu Ghraib
prison taken in 2003. [Reuters]
However, the Swiss-based body, whose confidential reports have previously
accused the U.S. military of using tactics "tantamount to torture" on inmates at
the Baghdad jail, declined to say whether it would raise the issue again with
An Australian television station broadcast what it said were previously
unpublished images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the facility, fuelling Arab
anger against the United States.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the mistreatment and abuse displayed in these
images," ICRC spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas told Reuters in Geneva.
"The type of treatment in these images -- video or photos -- very clearly
violates the rules of international humanitarian law which are designed to
protect people detained in the context of armed conflict," she added.
The 1949 Geneva Conventions protecting people captured in conflict -- which
the ICRC seeks to uphold -- "forbid torture as well as any cruel, inhuman, or
degrading treatment under any circumstance," according to the spokeswoman.
The current affairs program "Dateline," on Australia's Special Broadcasting
Service, said the images were recorded at the same time as the pictures of U.S.
soldiers abusing Abu Ghraib detainees which caused international outrage in
Some of the images were shown last year at trials in Fort Hood, Texas,
including that of abuse ringleader Charles Graner now serving a 10-year prison
"These images are extremely shocking to us," Krimitsas said.
The ICRC visits prisoners in 80 countries worldwide, assessing conditions of
detention and treatment of detainees. It also exchanges messages between
detainees and their families.
In a damning report on the treatment of prisoners leaked in 2004, the ICRC
spoke of U.S. mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, including keeping
them naked for days in darkness, that "in some cases was tantamount to torture."
ICRC officials began visits to detention centers run by U.S. and other
multinational forces in April 2003, a month after the invasion which ousted
They have been unable to go to Abu Ghraib since January 2005 due to lack of
security, Krimitsas said. "It is unfortunate."