to This Article With REAL AUDIO -- Get
- Answers: Multiple
Choice - Answers
Red Cross Cautions Iraqi Soldiers Using Civilian Disguises
01 Apr 2003, 16:51 UTC
International Committee of the Red Cross is warning that Iraqi
soldiers who disguise themselves as civilians risk prosecution.
The Red Cross has called for both sides in the Iraq war to stop
using tactics that endanger Iraqi civilians.
The Red Cross said the rules of warfare outlined by the Geneva
Conventions are clear. In a conflict situation, there must be
an unmistakable distinction between what is civilian and what
While additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions recognize
people's rights to resist and defend themselves, the Red Cross
said there are rules that apply even in these cases, including
one that says arms must be carried openly.
Red Cross spokesman Kim Gordon-Bates said soldiers who masquerade
as civilians in order to deceive the enemy violate the conventions
and risk prosecution. "Somebody who evades normal identification
as a fighter is exposing themselves to being prosecuted, if
ever they are arrested. What they are doing is denying themselves
protection that fighters normally get. Then it becomes a crime,
a violation, whatever that is up to a tribunal to decide. But
they are doing something which is no longer a formal act of
war performed by a formal, regular force," he said.
Mr. Gordon-Bates said recognized soldiers are protected under
the Third Geneva Convention. This means they cannot be prosecuted
for taking up arms against an enemy force. But this convention
does not protect armed civilians. He said Iraq, the United States,
and Britain are all parties to the Conventions.
Coalition troops have reported several instances where Iraqi
soldiers have posed as civilians. Recently, an Iraqi soldier
posing as a taxi driver detonated a car bomb that killed him
and four U.S. soldiers at a U.S. military roadblock near Najaf.
Edgy about suicide attacks, U.S. troops shot dead an unarmed
driver Tuesday. In an incident Monday, U.S. soldiers fired at
a van that failed to stop at a checkpoint after warning shots
were fired, killing seven women and children. Red Cross spokeswoman
Antonella Notari said the Conventions apply here too.
"Checkpoints have, of course, the right to try to defend
their own security and the security of their personnel so they
may search vans, they may stop vehicles. There are certain rules
on how you proceed in that. Of course, we hope that they took
all the necessary measures to warn the people, to clearly alert
them," she said.
The Red Cross said it will not play the role of arbitrator,
but expects military authorities to adhere to the rules of war.
They said chief among these is the protection of civilians from
News article published courtesy of