Red Cross: Release Saddam
Guardian — Red Cross ultimatum to US on Saddam
Saddam Hussein must either be released from custody by June 30 or charged if the US and the new Iraqi government are to conform to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross said last night.
Nada Doumani, a spokeswoman for the ICRC, told the Guardian: “The United States defines Saddam Hussein as a prisoner of war. At the end of an occupation PoWs have to be released provided they have no penal charges against them.”
Her comments came as the international body, the only independent group with access to detainees in US custody, becomes increasingly concerned over the legal limbo in which thousands of people are being held in the run-up to the transfer of power at the end of the month.
The occupation officially ends on June 30 and US forces will be in Iraq at the invitation of its sovereign government.
“There are all these people kept in a legal vacuum. No one should be left not knowing their legal status. Their judicial rights must be assured,” Ms Doumani said.
Saddam and other senior officials of the old regime are the only Iraqi detainees to have been given PoW status. Hundreds of other Iraqis have been seized since the war often, according to critics, on flimsy suspicion and held for long periods without charge, usually without their families knowing for weeks where they are.
This is Exhibit A in explaining why Administration figures ignored early warnings from the ICRC about Abu Ghraib. Silliness like this is, unfortunately, far too often the forte of international human rights groups.
That said, it is rather odd that we haven’t charged Saddam with any number of crimes against humanity. Surely, Saddam’s crimes make those of Slobodan Milosovek–let alone Manuel Norieaga–seem like parking violations.