In my previous post I pointed out an article that suggested war crimes had been commited in the battle in and around Fallujah.
The response I got was predictably stern from some readers.
I have heard, over and over, that the insurgents do not qualify for protection under the Geneva or Hague Conventions because they are not signatories of those conventions… and somehow that absolves the US of any responsibility towards upholding the standards of the Geneva Convention.
It is clear that there have been possible cases of war crimes on both the Insurgency and Coalition sides. It should be up to an International Criminal Court to decide who qualifies for protection under the Conventions and who has or has not broken the rules. The US is an Occupying power… and as such has specfic articles to contend with under the Geneva Conventions.
I do want to point out one very important article in the 4th Geneva Convention that pertains to the Occupying Power in a country. (According to multiple UNSC resolutions, the US has taken responsibility as being the voice of the “Authority” and the multinational forces inside Iraq)
Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. … Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.
The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.
There has been an incredible lack of information regarding the refugees from Fallujah… but those sections that I have bolded highlight areas where I suspect America has fallen far short of the spirit of the Geneva Conventions.
There were, as far as I know, no camps specifically made to harbour Fallujans before the offensive took place. Residents were simply told to Get Out.
The Geneva Conventions also imply an orderly and organised evacuation of residents… so that when the time came and military operations ceased (which they did in December) displaced residents and families could be moved back to their homes and compensated for their loss in a timely manner.
None of that, to my knowledge, has hapenned. If it had, I would fully expect the US Propaga… err State Department breifings to have filled us all in as to the wonderful work the US has done protecting civilians in Fallujah.
Strangely… we hear nothing about Fallujah… and what’s more worrisome is that no one seems to be asking.