After over twenty years, Washington has not offered reparations or money to Iraqi sufferers of its military’s mistreatment and brutality. Human Rights Watch claims that Abu Ghraib and other jails were the sites of the torture held by the United States.
According to a study by HRW released yesterday, the New York-based organization could find no proof that the US administration had offered victims any sort of restitution or compensation. It has also neither apologized or made any further adjustments to specific individuals.
Approximately 100,000 Iraqi nationals were thought to have been detained by the United States and its coalition partners between 2003 and 2009. Six years after the US invaded and controlled Iraq, it decommissioned its largest prison facility there.
Human rights organizations have reported instances of abuse and other maltreatment committed by US troops in Iraq during that time. The revelation of the records compelled George W. Bush, the president at the time, to apologize, despite his attempts to downplay the systemic character of the atrocity by referring to it as “disgraceful conduct by a few American troops.”
According to a document that the ICRC sent to the US-led military coalition a year after occupation, intelligence services personnel informed the ICRC that as many as ninety percent of those held in coalition detention in Iraq in 2003 had been wrongfully detained. Although Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary at the time, promised compensation, it never materialized.
Some sufferers, according to HRW, attempted to submit complaints under the Foreign Claims Act, but this was unsuccessful due to the act’s war exclusion clause and requirement that claims be made before two years of the claimed injury.
Iraqi Prison Victims; Mostly Innocent
The article further stated that a 1946 legislation had also been used to dismiss Iraqi legal claims in the US courts. According to the legislation, US military personnel are exempt from liability for “any claims coming out of the combatant activities of the armed or naval forces, or the Coast Guard, during the course of war”.
According to HRW, the few legal actions that have been successful in court have been against military contractors. But even those have encountered significant challenges and have dragged through the legal system since the late 2000s. “Twenty years on, Iraqis who were tortured by US personnel still have no clear path for filing a claim or receiving any kind of redress or recognition from the US government,” a HRW manager asserted.
According to the HRW research, just 97 US soldiers who were involved in 38 abuse allegations out of many more faced trials. Between 2003 and 2005, the US Army Criminal Investigation Division examined these instances in Iraqi detention facilities and handed down penalties. Nine of the 11 troops who had criminal accusations brought to a court martial were given jail terms.
“There is no available proof that any United States military commander has been held responsible for the unlawful conduct carried out by employees under the doctrine of command duty,” the group claimed. Additionally, it stated that attempts to achieve genuine accountability have been rejected by leaders from Bush to Joe Biden.
There have been initiatives to impose stronger regulations on how prisoners held in US custody abroad are handled. This covers congressional legislation, policy assessments, and an action plan the Pentagon unveiled in 2022.