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Abu Ghraib abuses fuel campaign for International Criminal Court.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), which had receded into the shadows over the past few years, may soon be back in the limelight, propelled by sensational stories and photos indicating that some U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors grossly abused prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. This is certain to fuel a campaign to bring international war crimes charges against U.S. citizens serving in Iraq. This, in turn, will reignite a full-scale campaign to empower the new ICC, which was launched at the UN's 1998 Rome Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. One of the principal non-governmental organizations leading the noisy and influential NGO contingent at the Rome summit was Amnesty International.

In a May 7 open letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, Amnesty International said that abuses allegedly committed by U.S. agents in the Abu Ghraib facility in Baghdad were war crimes, and the organization called on the administration to fully investigate them "to ensure that there is no impunity for anyone found responsible regardless of position or rank."

Amnesty International said that it has documented a pattern of abuse by U.S. agents against detainees, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, stretching back over the past two years. Those responsible for these crimes, it said, "should be brought to justice in accordance with the USA's obligations under international and US law. Investigations should cover the higher chain of command responsibility as well as direct perpetrators."

(For additional perspective about Abu Ghraib, see page 44.)
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Title Annotation:Insider Report
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 31, 2004
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