UK, US war criminals must be punished [Archives:2003/635/Letters to the Editor]

May 12 2003

Astrid Essed
[email protected]
The Netherlands

Although I fully agree with the trial of leaders of the former Iraqi regime, it is a matter of justice that British and American war-crimes must be punished also.
In the first place, by their air strikes the USA and Great-Britain used cluster bombs, which are internationally forbidden by the Treaty of Ottawa because of the big risk for the civilians on land mines and scattered missiles [by explosion many missiles are scattering in the wide environment].
According to International Law the use of weapons with an enlarged risk for civilians is a war-crime.
In the second place several times Iraqi civilians were shot by American troops at checkpoints.
The justification by military spokesmen, referring at a suicide attack by an Iraqi soldier in civilian clothes makes no sense, because shooting civilians is always a war-crime according to International Law.
Of course the American troops have the right to take security measures, but not at the cost of the Iraqi civilians for whose safety they are responsible according to the 4th Geneva Convention being the occupying army.
For maintaining the principles of international justice, the trial of British and American war-crimes is of the utmost importance.