UN accuses US of wholesale rights violations in Iraq

Monday, December 5, 2005 John Pace, human rights chief for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), condemned both the US-installed Iraqi government and the US Armed Forces for breach of human rights, centring largely around widespread detention without authority or trial.

"There is no question that terrorism has to be addressed. But we are equally sure that the remedies being applied... are not the best way of eliminating terrorism," Pace said during an interview on Sunday.

He quoted instances where Iraqi judges had ordered the release of groups of prisoners, and had found not only that their orders had been refused, but found themselves locked up as a reprisal.

On the subject of the Saddam Hussein trial resuming Monday, Pace told Reuters, "Weakness in the system of administration of justice, in addition to the antecedents surrounding the establishment of this tribunal, will never be able to produce the kind of process that would be able to satisfy international standards."

He also pointed out that the Iraqi authorities are the only legal entity allowed to detain prisoners, and that the US prison camps at Abu Ghraib and similar locations are therefore technically illegal.