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[casi] HRW: Iraq:

Human Rights Watch

20 May 2003

Iraq: Security Council resolution silent on human rights

International Justice Needed for Past Abusers

(New York, May 20, 2003) - The new U.N. draft resolution on Iraq contains no
explicit plans for protecting human rights or setting up an international
tribunal for past abuses. These defects will make it much more difficult to
establish peace and security in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today.

The resolution gives a proposed U.N. Special Representative for Iraq only
vague responsibilities for human rights and humanitarian issues and fails to
address many important questions, including justice for past abuses and the
need to preserve forensic and documentary evidence.

"As more and more mass graves come to light, it's appalling that the
Security Council would remain silent on past abuses in Iraq," said Kenneth
Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Ensuring justice for these
crimes will be essential to breaking with impunity in Iraq and restoring the
rule of law."

As a first step, Human Rights Watch urged the Security Council to appoint a
commission of experts, as it did for the former Yugoslavia, to recommend the
best option for an internationally-led justice process. In the meantime,
Human Rights Watch called for urgent steps to protect mass graves and
archives to preserve crucial evidence for any future trials. This evidence
is also necessary to ensure that families can establish the fate of their
loved ones.

Human Rights Watch also urged the Security Council to establish a human
rights monitoring presence inside Iraq under the authority of the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights.

"The Security Council has put human rights monitors on the ground in many
other post-conflict situations," said Roth. "As violence and instability
continue in Iraq, monitors could help deter abuses and make recommendations
for longer-term reforms."

Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution for ignoring the silent threat
that landmines and unexploded ordnance pose to Iraq's people. This concern
has been compounded by the recent use of cluster munitions by U.S. and U.K.
ground and air forces; new laying of landmines by Iraqi forces; and very
large numbers of abandoned Iraqi weapons caches.

Human Rights Watch called on the Security Council to give high priority to
mine action activities (survey, marking, risk education and clearance).
Coalition forces should also provide detailed information on the types,
numbers and locations of munitions used, in order to facilitate effective
warnings to civilians and rapid clearance.

To read Human Rights Watch's previous letter to the United Nations Security
Council dated May 13, 2003, please see:

 Copyright, Human Rights Watch 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor New York, NY
10118-3299 USA

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