Annan Says Coalition May Be Violating "Law"
Ah yes, International law. I forgot.
U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraq's authorities may be violating international law by arbitrarily detaining thousands of people, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report published Tuesday.
The report, which studied the situation in Iraq over the last three months, said Iraq's prison system remains a major concern and lamented that an investigation into allegations of torture in Iraqi Interior Ministry jails had not yet been made public as promised.
Annan's criticism of Multinational Forces and the Iraqi authorities in responding to violence was among the strongest he has made, although many of his claims were not new. He said the detainment of thousands of Iraqis "constitutes de facto arbitrary detention."
"The extent of such practices is not consistent with provisions of international law governing internment on imperative reasons of security," the report said.
While Annan praised Iraq's December elections, he also noted a rise in sectarian strife and said attacks against places of worship were higher than ever. Baghdad's Forensic Institute alone received 787 bodies, 479 of which had gunshot wounds, since early December.
"Repeated bombings against civilians, mosques and more recently against churches are creating fear, animosity and feelings of revenge," Annan wrote.Annan repeated his strong concern about a Feb. 22 bombing that destroyed the golden dome atop a Shiite shrine in the mainly Sunni city of Samarra. The attack set off two weeks of sectarian revenge attacks, mainly targeting Sunni mosques, clerics and neighborhoods.