There are some categories such as private contractors where defining crimes of war is embarking on new territory. Once I have text in I will define more specifically for you the context. In the meantime, I would hazard a guess that the piece will deal with those civilian contractors who worked hand in glove with the military at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
Civilian contractors were working as interrogators and interpreters, and share responsibility for abuses. Besides torture and ill-treatment, civilian contractors are also accused of involvement in wrongful deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The most serious crimes could be prosecuted under the War Crimes Act of 1996. War crimes, as defined in the law, include grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (such as torture or inhuman treatment) and violations of the Conventions’ common article 3 (such as “outrages upon personal dignity” and “humiliating and degrading treatment”).
It is important to add that not all photographs in our past publication matched the case studies and this was intentional. The images have equal authorship as the text in our mind’s eye and although in some cases the images corresponded to the text in others they did not. The litmus test is an image which strongly testifies to the crime or case study. For example, in the case study – Forced Labor – the author speaks of Burma (Myammar) and its conscription of civilians as unpaid labor for military authorities and former Yugoslavia where forced labor was used by all sides between 1993 and 1996, but most systematically in Serb controlled northern Bosnia, where non-Serb minorities under Bosnian Serb control were subject to a “work obligation.” However, we used an image of Chechens accused of collaborating with Russians forced to labor at digging trenches around Grozny.
Civilians, Illegal Targeting of
Civilians, Illegal Targeting of “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population is prohibited.” Additional protocals prohibit “attacks which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civlian life, injury to civlians; damage to civlian objects or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated; and attacks by bombardment by any methods or means which treat as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or area containing a similar concentration of civlians or civilian objects.”
Again, I will keep you posted when definitions are forthcoming and welcome any questions.
Thanks — Sheryl
23 Mar 2005 10:03
(ed. Mar 23 2005)
| New York,