February 16, 2006

Abu Ghraib abuse violates international law: ICRC

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) on Thursday said the latest images of abuse of
Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison showed clear violations of
international humanitarian law.

An Australian television station broadcast on Wednesday
what it said were previously unpublished images of abuse of
Iraqi prisoners at the jail, fuelling Arab anger against the
United States.

"We are shocked and dismayed at the mistreatment and abuse
displayed in these images," ICRC spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas
told Reuters in Geneva.

"The type of treatment in these images -- video or photos
-- very clearly violates the rules of international
humanitarian law which are designed to protect people detained
in the context of armed conflict," she added.

The Special Broadcasting Service's "Dateline" current
affairs program said the images were recorded at the same time
as the now-infamous pictures of U.S. soldiers abusing Abu
Ghraib detainees which sparked international outrage in 2004.

The latest grainy, still photographs and video images show
prisoners, some bleeding or hooded, bound to beds and doors,
sometimes with a smiling American guard beside them.

They include two naked men handcuffed together, a pile of
five naked detainees photographed from the rear, and a dog
straining at a leash close to the face of a crouching man
wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

Officials from the neutral ICRC visited 11,000-12,000
detainees in Iraq last year, including those at four facilities
run by multinational forces. But they have been unable to go to
Abu Ghraib since January 2005 due to a lack of security,
Krimitsas said.