Evidence of U.S. War Crimes in Iraq

AFP-Washington Post

The CIA has secretly transferred detainees out of Iraq for interrogation after the US Justice Department to write a memo justifying the practice, which violates the Geneva Conventions, The Washington Post reported.

The CIA used the draft memo as legal support for the transfer up to a dozen detainees in the last six months, concealing the move from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other authorities, the Post said, citing an intelligence official familiar with the operation.

The daily said it had obtained a copy of the confidential memo, written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, dated March 19, 2004 and stamped "draft."

The memo covers both Iraqi citizens and foreigners in Iraq, according to the Post.

It permits the CIA to take Iraqis out of the country to be interrogated for a "brief but not indefinite period," and allows permanent removal of persons deemed to be "illegal aliens" under "local immigration law," the daily said.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians during wartime and occupation, prohibiting "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory... regardless of their motive."

In a footnote to the memo its author wrote that a violation of this provision constitutes a "grave breach" of the accord and a "war crime" under US federal law, the Post said.

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