Abu Ghraib and International Law

U.S. commits torture crimes.

July 5, 2004

For those who still believe the abhorrent treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison by the U.S. military is "no big deal" and/or "not against international law", I would like to draw your attention to the United Nations "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", to which all member countries have pledged, in which Article 5 states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Is this applicable in the context of U.S. military activities in Iraq? Absolutely. The Preamble states (with regard to said rights): " secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction." Of course, Iraq is a territory under the jurisdiction of the United States---and so is Afghanistan and so is Guantanamo Bay.

The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" is an exceptionally fine document. I imagine it reflects how most or all of us feel governments should treat people and how people should treat one another. It's also a very short and pleasant read; see for yourself:

Carlo Moneti
Syracuse, NY

Note: Post-Standard letter to the editor.