19 June 2004

Amnesty International |Clarification needed on status of prisoners after 30 June

Furthermore, Amnesty International would like to be informed by the drafters of the resolution whether all Iraqi Prisoners of War, currently held in their custody and entitled to protection under the Third Geneva Convention, will be released by 30 June 2004, consistent with the declared end of occupation and end of international conflict. If they are not to be released, Amnesty International requests to be informed where and in whose custody Prisoners of War will be held, and what protective measures are afforded to them under applicable international law.

Finally, Amnesty International wishes to receive clarification about the respective powers of arrest and detention of the Iraqi forces and the multinational force in the course of the exercise of the latter's broad powers granted in the resolution to take 'all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq...including by preventing and deterring terrorism'. We would appreciate learning which of these parties will authorize arrests, searches, detentions, or internment, on what legal basis such measures are taken, and at what stage any detainees or internees taken by the multinational force will be handed over to Iraqi authorities.

Recalling reports of torture of Iraqis not only by the occupying powers but also by the Iraqi police, Amnesty International would welcome information about the legal and practical safeguards that will apply to arrest, detention and internment; what access international and Iraqi organizations will have to those held; and whether prisons and detention centres will be placed under Iraqi government or other control. The international community should know what measures are in place to ensure that the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment will be strictly observed by Iraqi, US and other forces. In this respect, we would appreciate knowing your views about our recommendation that the United Nations should have a specific monitoring mandate to supervise all places of detention.

Silly Amnesty. Imagine thinking that the end of occupation means the end of the war, or that the exercise of full sovereignty by the Iraqi transitional government means that anyone can bang on the door of Abu Ghraib with a writ of habeas corpus.

Amnesty is mounting a letter-writing campaign, so click the link and start those cards and letters.

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