Green MP Keith Locke has challenged the government to speak out against American war crimes in Fallujah in the same way that it has condemned the terrorist bombing of civilian targets in Baghdad.
“The shooting of a wounded prisoner in cold blood is clearly a war crime, but it is not just the young US soldier involved who should charged,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
“Many other war crimes have been committed during the US offensive against Fallujah which cannot be justified as ‘retaliation’ against terrorists. The person who orders indiscriminate air strikes on civilian neighbourhoods is just as much a war criminal as the soldier who shoots an unarmed prisoner.
“The Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court defines as a war crime as: ‘intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects…which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated.’
“The extensive bombing of Fallujah, with many civilian deaths, does constitute a war crime under the Rome Treaty,” said Mr Locke. “Much of the city has been devastated, prisoners have been mistreated, fleeing civilians shot down and the Red Crescent has been forbidden access to witness or alleviate the suffering.
“This is not the time for fawning platitudes about how well our Government can get on with new US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, whose hawkish advice as Bush’s National Security Advisor helped create the Iraq tragedy.
“We should add our voice to that of international leaders like UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who cautioned the US against its offensive in Fallujah,” Mr Locke said. “For New Zealand, Fallujah is a test of whether we are going to stand up to the new, even more aggressive, Bush administration.”