Hussein and the Geneva Conventions
Shocking! Outrageous! (It's been a long time since I've had one of these…)
According to the International Red Cross, the US will be violating the Geneva Conventions unless it releases or formally charges Saddam Hussein by the June 30 handover of Iraqi sovereignty:
Hang on just a minute. Who says the Geneva Conventions apply in this case? As SDB explained almost a year ago, there are exceptions written into the Conventions themselves:
But ignoring these issues entirely — setting aside the question of whether or not Iraq was following the Conventions, or whether Saddam's hiding among civilians disqualifies him individually — there's still the important moral consideration of due process.
The reason due process is so important is that we don't want to punish the innocent. The evidence may be unconvincing, or the person apprehended may not be the perpetrator. But in the case of Saddam Hussein there is absolutely no doubt of his guilt or his identity. None whatsoever. We've got the right man, the Butcher of Baghdad, in our custody.
When I see the International Red Cross, an organization supposedly dedicated to the relief of suffering, entertaining Saddam's release from custody, I shake my head in disgust. It turns the Conventions on their head, using them to protect the brutal instead of attenuating brutality. This is not what they were intended for.
The Red Cross quickly clarified its position:
Methinks the two offices should coodinate notes ahead of their next press release.