Saturday, May 07, 2005

Objectivity

Phil Shiner, an human rights attorney, suggests that the US & UK military cannot be trusted to investigate themselves for human rights abuses.

What do we learn from [the recent torture investigations]? One, that when the prevailing system is threatened, it reacts by throwing a few rank-and-file members to the dogs. Two, that there is evidence that Britain, like the US, now has a torture policy, and this evidence is ignored. Three, that neither the government, the Ministry of Defence nor the attorney general gives a damn - nobody has been charged for the death of [Baha] Mousa [an Iraqi killed by the British] or for other deaths or torture cases in detention. Four, the system of the military investigating and prosecuting itself is fundamentally flawed and must be immediately replaced with an independent system if the international prohibition against torture and protection of civilians under the Geneva conventions or domestic war crimes legislation are to have any meaning. And five, if we fail to protest, we are all responsible for the torture of Baha Mousa and others. |Link|
It seems an obvious conflict of interest to me to have the Army investigating itself. I realize a battlefield is not a great place for a crime scene investigation, but can't we at least someone half-way objective in to look at the matter? Could we get the Air Force to investigate the Army and and the Navy ot investigate the Air Force and the Army to investigate the Navy? Or make the NSA do the investigations or something? But we might be able to recruit volunteer independent investigators from the civilian field...we won't know unless we try. I'm not sure the best solution, but the current systems seems obviously broken to me. Anyone else have some thoughts on this matter?

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