UN ask US to probe rights abuses after WikiLeaks`s exposure

The UN has asked the US administration to probe the involvement of American forces` in human rights abuses.

Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 00:47 AM IST

New York: The UN has asked the US
administration to probe the involvement of American forces` in
human rights abuses, summary executions and war crimes in
following the "largest classified military leak" detailing
accounts of torture and killing of over 66,000 civilians.

In the "largest classified military leak" in the US
history, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has released nearly
400,000 secret American documents on Iraq war detailing
graphic accounts of torture, killing of over 66,000 civilians
and Iran`s role in the conflict.

The call for probe by the UN`s chief investigator on
torture, Manfred Nowak, came as Phil Shiner, human rights
specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, warned that
some of the deaths documented in the Iraq war logs could have
involved British forces and would be pursued through the UK
courts.

According to a report in the British daily The
Guardian, which has analysed the 400,000 documents, found
15,000 previously unreported civilian deaths.
Nowak demanded a public inquiry into allegations that
British troops were responsible for civilian deaths during the
conflict.

Nowak said the Obama administration had an obligation
to investigate them if the "classified military leak" pointed
to clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture,
according to the British newspaper.

He said it would be up to the Obama administration to
launch an "independent and objective" investigation with a
view not only to "bring the perpetrators to justice but also
to provide the victims with adequate remedy and reparation".

The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate
hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by
Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be
systematic and generally unpunished, the report in the British
daily said.

The logs paint a disturbing picture of the
relationship between US and Iraqi forces. Nowak underlined
that the UN human rights agreements made it obligatory on the
parts of states to criminalise all forms of torture, whether
directly or indirectly, and probe any allegations of abuse.

Nowak said the Obama administration had a legal and
moral obligation to fully investigate credible claims of US
forces` complicity in torture.

The latest leaked documents chronicling the Iraq war
from 2004 to 2009 provide a new picture of how many Iraqi
civilians were killed, open a new window on the role that Iran
played in supporting Iraqi militants and give many accounts of
abuse by Iraqi army and police, said `The New York Times`, one
of the news organisations which got early access to the
papers. Pentagon`s warning that it could endanger informants and
reveal war strategy, called the document drop "the largest
classified military leak in history."

In a news release, the group said the documents detail
109,032 deaths in Iraq, encompassing 66,081 civilians, 23,984
insurgents, 15,196 Iraqi government forces and 3,771 coalition
forces, according to the classifications used by the US
military.

The Pentagon strongly condemned the unauthorised
disclosure of classified information contained in 392,000
documents.

"...`significant activities` reports (in the leaked
documents) are initial, raw observations by tactical units,"
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange told CNN that
the new round of field reports shows "compelling evidence of
war crimes" committed by forces of the US-led coalition and
the Iraqi government.

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks had released 92,000
Afghan war-related documents.

The website`s founder Julian Assange said the
documents made public are aimed at bringing out the truth,
that had been the first casualty of war.

"This first casualty of war is the truth," Julian
Assange told a news conference here, hours after the
whistleblower released a fresh cache of classified military
documents.

The website said it would now release another set of
documents on the war in Afghanistan.

"We hope to correct some of that attack on the truth
that occurred before the war, during the war, and which has
continued on since the war officially concluded," Assange
said.

PTI

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