Association of Humanitarian Lawyers
Recent Press Releases

HUMANITARIAN LAW GROUPS FILE RIGHTS PETITION AT OAS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR ATTACKS ON HOSPITALS, CLINICS IN FALLUJA

Los Angeles-based Humanitarian Law Project/International Educational Development (HLP/IED and San Francisco-based Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (AHL), submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States on behalf of “unnamed, unnumbered patients and medical staff both living and dead” at the medical facilities in Falluja. The Commission had authority to investigate human rights violations committed by a member State of the OAS and to seek remedies for victims.

The Geneva Conventions prohibit attacks on any medical facility or medical personnel, whether civilian or military. “Imagine the outrage if the opposition in Iraq attacked one of the medical facilities for American wounded. There would be calls for war crimes tribunals,” stated Karen Parker, the attorney in this action. “Rather than being “quaint” as administration Attorney-General nominee Gonzales has said, the Geneva Conventions and human rights agreements are meant to prevent acts of barbarity in war. Besides preventing atrocities, they are meant to protect GI's from the psychological damage that afflicts people who carry out this type of action.”
Follow-up

It’s been nearly a month since the United States destroyed the medical facilities in Falluja, and there is still no help for the victims. Wounded children are dying for lack of water. We added the continued refusal to provide medical help to the lawsuit as another violation. Every loss of life due to lack of medical care is an additional gross violation. We also have increasing evidence of the psychological toll on our own soldiers when ordered to commit war crimes at this degree of gravity. No one can kill innocent people, especially children, like this without permanent mental damage.”

The groups also presented evidence of the use of napalm in Falluja, as indicated by furious confrontations between British Prime Minister Blair and members of the House of Commons over this fact. “We are appalled at the apparent indifference to gross violations of the Geneva Convention by the US administration and lawmakers, but are compelled to take this legal action to the OAS rights body,” said Ms. Parker.

The OAS has jurisdiction over human rights lawsuits (called “petitions”) brought against any member state of the OAS. The Association of Humanitarian Lawyers and Humanitarian Law Project filed their initial complaint on November 18, 2004. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is in Washington, DC.



Read More
LAW GROUPS ADD KILLED HEALTH WORKERS, EVIDENCE OF NAPLAM USE TO FALLLUJA HOSPITAL CASE AT OAS

In a second brief, submitted December 1, 2004 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (San Francisco) and the Humanitarian Law Project (Los Angeles) added the names of two health workers, two nurses and 4 doctors killed at a clinic in Falluja to their law suit. They also provided evidence of a catastrophic loss of life and injuries to as-yet unnamed patients, and the near destruction of medical care facilities in Falluja. “They even destroyed the last remaining ambulance. It was carrying 6 patients, the driver and a health aide and all were killed,” stated Lydia Brazon, Executive Director of the Law Project. “These are war crimes under the Geneva Conventions as willful killings and wanton destruction of protected medical property.”

The groups submitted the press statement of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross that also condemned violations in Falluja. The group’s attorney, Karen Parker stated, “We are glad that the Red Cross spoke up about the legal obligation of the United States to provide for or ensure adequate health care to victims of armed conflicts.



Read More

NEWS LINKS

  www.cnn.com/WORLD