The Human Right Violations at Abu Ghraib
In 1949, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War was created to prohibit immoral, cruel and degrading punishment toward prisoners during wartime. The United States ratified this covenant and became a member of the Geneva Conventions. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, a series of human abuses occurred from October through December of 2003 where American military personnel have conducted acts of brutality and immoral behavior toward Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison. The inhumane “interrogation method” of the American military have clearly violated Article 2 and 4 of the Geneva Conventions. Article 2.2 states “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture”; Article 2.3 says “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.” Similarly, Article 4.1 of the Geneva Conventions addresses that “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.” The Convention against Torture requires states to illegalize torture, and provide humane punishment for prisoners at war. The inhumane behavior conducted by the American military contradicts President Bush’s rhetoric in which he promised nations of the world that the United States stands with the other 135 nations under the ratification of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The failure of provision of humane punishment at Abu Ghraib prison is caused by the lack of successful military leadership and clear interrogation policy. The responsibility of this failure is institutional as well as personal at higher levels.
Abu Ghraib and the Root Causes of Abuse
When President Bush declared the War on Terror after the incident of September 11, 2001, he was declaring a new kind of war on a different kind of enemy. The al-Qaeda terrorist group who were responsible for the destruction of World Trade Center is organized differently than any enemy that the U.S. has faced before. Since the terrorists were determined to target large numbers of American civilians, the Bush administration issued a memorandum which declared the Geneva Conventions cannot apply to unconventional combatants such as al-Qaeda, it states “ I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere through the world because; among other reasons al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva. (Bush 2002)”
In 2002, the Office of Legal Counsel responded to the President’s request of exploring the question whether American officials...