Crime against humanity at Camp Ashraf

111824258 Crime against humanity at Camp AshrafLast week Iraqi forces entered a camp in Iraq housing members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). Thirty three residents were killed and over 300 wounded. Were the US authorities, as it has been suggested, told of the intended attack by the Iraqi Government? If they were, then surely members of the US government were complicit in a crime against humanity. And of course it shows that the US administration is continuing to appease the regime in Tehran whose influence over the Iraq government grows and grows.

The raid which took place at 5am on Friday 8 April, involved 2,500 severely armed Iraqi forces entering the Camp in armoured vehicles and Humvees, with video footage filmed by the residents clearly showing Iraqi forces running over unarmed residents and firing indiscriminately at them. Under any parameter of international law such a massacre of unarmed civilians is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Unfortunately, this is the latest indication that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has no qualms about breaching international law and massacring innocent civilians in order to please his paymasters in Tehran. Al-Maliki continues to lead Iraq into becoming a puppet state which ultimately falls under the leadership of Tehran’s Mullahs.

In this climate it becomes even more disturbing to know that unarmed civilians to whom the US authorities gave personal guarantees as to their protection and to whom ‘protected persons’ status under the Fourth Geneva Convention were granted, were left to be butchered in such a way.

Based on the current information available it appears that US forces stationed inside the Camp were ordered by their command in Baghdad to withdraw from Camp Ashraf and not to act in any way in preventing the attack. Furthermore given the presence of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Iraq at the time of the attack, there exists the possibility that the US authorities provided the Iraqi authorities with an informal go-ahead to carry out the attack.

The actions of the US authorities in failing to prevent the attack is a clear breach of their duty under international law to guarantee the safety of ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention. This duty falls upon each and every UN member state, but specifically upon the US and its Coalition members who provided the residents with a guarantee to ensure that their rights under international law would be safeguarded.

Having either failed to prevent the attack or turned a blind eye to it, the US authorities must now act to prevent further bloodshed. What is needed immediately is help in transferring the wounded to US military hospitals in the area to prevent further loss of life. In time of war this kind of help has to be given to enemy combatants, and it really would be criminal to deny it to people who are civilians and refugees.

Surely the duty to protect Camp Ashraf and its inhabitants can no longer be left in the hands of Nouri Al-Maliki. It must be returned to the US military and there must be a permanent UN presence at the camp. As to Britain which was a member of the coalition which entered the war in Iraq, it has a clear duty to ensure compliance by the Iraqi leadership.

In July 2009, 11 residents were killed. Up to now in April 2011, 34 residents have been killed. If the US authorities fail to act now to prevent further bloodshed their complicity in the crimes committed will be inferred by all.

Surely the US Government should not be telling the people of Iran that as they struggle for freedom and democracy, the West is prepared to allow the massacre of members of the Iranian opposition who stand for that freedom and for that democracy. Surely that was not the message which in 2008 President Obama promised to deliver to the World.

Rt. Hon. Lord David Waddington QC is a former UK Home Secretary and Leader of the House of Lords

Tagged in: , , ,
  • Jane Gately

    You have absolutely no idea… one of the blind people who think they know but listen to some political jokers out there instead of making a real research and building their own opinion. The people in Ashraf are as much terrorists as you are a murderer. Just because someone claims you’re one, it doesn’t mean you are. Sadly (or luckily, depends on the point of view), I know, because I was lucky enough to get some view inside the happenings. I just put too much effort into this comment, although I truly agree with Azadeh… I hope, people like you wake up someday…

  • estherhaman

    You bunch can’t take the truth, it hearts too much. Name calling is not childish thing and you people need to grow up and stop acting like one. Thats what it is, you people never want to take responsibility for your own thoughtless behaviors and miss dead and its always someone else fault that you suffering from. How can any responsible person reason with you or listen to you? How can we believe you to be any better than what is already there? You are more radical and have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to governing! What is your solution and what ideology do you follow and where is the beef? You people could not even organize and carry out your own day to day business and you want to run a country?! LOL.

  • estherhaman

    You live by the sword you will die by the sword. If these guys were only a bunch of homeless refugees, what were they doing with tanks and armer vehicles in that camp?! What was that miliary camp all about, to hold wedding ceremonies?! Give me a break.

    Get real.

Most viewed



Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter