|US turned blind eye to torture|
Leaked documents on Iraq war contain thousands of allegations of abuse, but a Pentagon order told troops to ignore them.
A review of the leaked documents reveals more than 1,000 allegations of abuse committed by Iraqi security forces. Not all of them are credible, as some detainees showed no physical evidence of abuse, while others changed their stories during multiple interrogations.
Violating its obligations
International law did not require the US to investigate these allegations of Iraqi-on-Iraqi detainee abuse, because all of them were reported after June 30, 2004 – when Iraq once again became a “sovereign country”, according to the United Nations resolution 1546. The United States no longer directly controlled Iraq's security services, and thus, it was no longer legally obligated to police them.
One could argue, of course, that the decision to look the other way represents a clear moral failing – and a conscious decision to undermine US’ own stated goal of nation-building. The US has spent tens of millions of dollars to develop prisons, courts, and the “rule of law” in Iraq. But the leaked documents show that Iraq's security forces routinely violated the most basic rights of detainees in their custody, assaulting them, threatening their families, occasionally even raping or murdering them.
More importantly, many of the detainee abuse reports suggest that the US knowingly violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
The convention – which the United States ratified in 1994 – forbids signatories from transferring a detainee to other countries "where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture".
The thousand-plus allegations of torture in Iraqi jails, many of them substantiated by medical evidence, clearly seem to constitute "substantial grounds" to believe that prisoners transferred to Iraqi custody could be tortured. Yet the US has transferred thousands of prisoners to Iraqi custody in recent years, including nearly 2,000 who were handed over to the Iraqis in July, 2010.
"Evidence of unchecked torture"
The abuses reported by detainees were often nearly identical to those used by the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein. Some detainees were whipped across the feet with heavy cables, an excruciatingly painful form of torture but one that leaves few marks on its victims. Others reported being hung from hooks attached to the ceiling, or receiving electrical shocks across their bodies.
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Wikileaks Iraq war logs: Civilians have paid heaviest price