Pentagon Lists 24 Crimes Eligible for Tribunals
Byline: Rowan Scarborough, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Pentagon yesterday released a list of 24 crimes for which detainees in the war on terrorism may be tried by military tribunals.
The list includes offenses that could be lodged against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his commanders should they order the use of weapons of mass destruction or position civilians in or near military targets in the event of a U.S.-led invasion.
One month after al Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, President Bush authorized the creation of military tribunals, also called commissions, to try terrorism suspects captured in Afghanistan and other countries.
Today, there are about 650 detainees at a newly constructed detention center at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But to date, the Bush administration has not selected any to appear at a tribunal.
U.S. officials say that if Saddam and other top Ba'ath Party officials are put on trial, they would be prosecuted as war criminals for past crimes of brutalizing Kurds in northern Iraq and Shi'ite Muslims in the south. Whether those trials would be in military tribunals or in some other venue has not been decided, the officials say.
Several offenses on the Pentagon's list might be lodged against Iraqi leaders.
They include "employing poison or analogous weapons," "using protected persons as shields" and "using protected property as shields."
Intelligence data show Iraq is already positioning military equipment adjacent to schools and mosques.
The United States has said that Saddam's Republican Guard divisions are deployed with artillery shells containing chemicals. The Iraqi leader's air force is armed with chemical bombs, and there may be as many as 50 Scud ballistic missiles that could carry chemical or biological weapons.
The Bush administration has warned Iraqi field commanders not to carry out any orders to use these weapons or to position human shields. …