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U.S. Accuses Iraq of War Crime Over Human Shields

The United States warned Iraq on Wednesday not to place civilians at military sites in a bid to ward off attack, saying using “human shields” would represent a crime against humanity punishable after any war. Iraq was also using schools, hospitals and orphanages to protect military forces, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. He and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the issue of human shields a day after about 100 civilians who drove to Baghdad from London said they would place themselves near potential bombing targets to an attempt to prevent attacks. The Human Shields group are guests of Iraq’s government, staying in a hotel across from one of President Saddam Hussein’s palaces on the Tigris river. Peter van Dyke, an organizer, said several Americans were in his group. During a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld said the use of civilians as human shields “is a practice that reveals contempt for the norms of humanity, the laws of armed conflict, and, I am advised, Islamic law, practice and belief.” Full Story

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