Red Cross Says U.S. Shouldn’t Free Hussein

OTB gets results!

AP – Red Cross Says U.S. Shouldn’t Free Hussein

Saddam Hussein can be held for trial even though most Iraqi prisoners of war are entitled to immediate release at the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Red Cross said yesterday.

“Any prisoner of war suspected of having committed any type of crime can be charged and tried,” said Antonella Notari, chief spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Notari said she wanted to make clear the neutral ICRC had no desire to see the release of any POWs, including Hussein, who were suspected of criminal acts.

“Nobody in the ICRC is calling for the release of Saddam Hussein. Absolutely not,” Notari told the Associated Press from the Geneva headquarters of the humanitarian agency, which serves as a watchdog to ensure adherence to the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of warfare.

The deposed Iraqi leader has been held in U.S. custody in an undisclosed location in Iraq since his capture in December.

Iraq’s interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, told Al-Jazeera television yesterday that he received official confirmation that all detainees, including Hussein, would be “handed over to the Iraqi government” within two weeks.

Earlier yesterday the Baghdad-based ICRC spokeswoman, Nada Doumani, told Associated Press Television News that under international and military law, Hussein and other prisoners of war and civilian prisoners should be released at the end of the conflict and occupation unless there were charges against them.

Thank goodness they’ve changed their mind, since we were sure to release Saddam any day now otherwise.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. russ says:

    Why does anyone give a damn what the Red Cross says?

  2. dondo says:

    The red cross never said we had to free Hussein — they said we couldn’t hold him indefinitely without charging him with something. We either need to charge him or free him. Since we haven’t charged him with anything, I presume we don’t have any evidence — Colin Powell has admitted as much, although Cheney appears to be reading from a different hymnal. We obviously can’t free him (mostly from a political perspective, although I’d imagine he can still do harm to our troops in Iraq, which I’d prefer not happen).

    So we picked a path through the horns of that dilemma, and turned him over to the Iraqi’s. “I don’t want him — here, you take him!” A nice move, but not exactly a position of strength; wouldn’t you have preferred that we bring out all that evidence of his WMD activity and try him ourselves?

  3. James Joyner says:

    The evidence of non-compliance with his treaty obligations is rather in the bag. The main thrust of criminal charges, presumably, would involve his myriad human rights violations, though.

    As to the turnover, I don’t think it was ever in the plans that the U.S. would try him–it was either the Iraqis or an international tribunal.

  4. McGehee says:

    Bush’s position has always been that it should be the Iraqis, not us; I think it’s been our allies <snicker> who wanted the tribunal.