Iraqi insurgents guilty of war crimes, says Human Rights Watch

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Human Rights Watch yesterday released a detailed study of attacks on civilians by members of the Iraqi insurgency. The 140-page report, "A Face And A Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq" claims to be the most comprehensive account yet produced of abuses by the Iraqi armed opposition. In the report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) also analyses and challenges a number of arguments put forward by insurgent leaders attempting to justify their attacks on civilians. HRW argues that all such attacks are illegal under international law, and violate the Geneva Convention.

"There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else", said an HRW spokesperson, calling on the insurgents to "respect the laws of war".

While Human Rights Watch has been vocal in condemning abuses by American and British forces in Iraq - they stress that these can never be used to excuse attacks on civilians by the insurgency.

According to Human Rights Watch, people in the Middle East are being increasingly "repulsed" by the abuses of the insurgents, whether or not they support the US-led occupation of Iraq. The organisation is now calling on figures of influence in Iraq - particularly religious leaders, to condemn the abuses publicly.