Last night the mainstream media broadcast video of Omar Khadr, "enemy combatant," crying and describing to his interrogators ill treatment he had received. To make sure we didn't begin feeling badly about a 15-year old child being treated this way, ABC News quickly put up a photo of the soldier killed by a grenade allegedly thrown by Khadr. There are no eye witnesses to this allegation. ABC did not mention that fact. (And by the way, did it appear that Khadr had legal representation with him during the interrogation? No?)
What has the United States become, when we willingly allow our leaders to sanction torture against children?
From Amnesty International:
No existing international tribunal has ever prosecuted a child for war crimes, reflecting the wide recognition that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is a serious abuse in itself. This does not mean that a child above the age of criminal responsibility cannot be held accountable for crimes committed in the context of armed conflict, as in any other context. Appropriate recognition must be given to the age of the child at the time of the alleged crime and the rehabilitative priority, however. In February 2007, the month that the Pentagon announced charges against Omar Khadr under the Military Commissions Act (MCA), 58 countries endorsed the Paris Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups (and another eight countries have endorsed them since). They agreed that “Children who are accused of crimes under international law allegedly committed while they were associated with armed forces or armed groups should be considered primarily as victims of offences against international law; not only as perpetrators. They must be treated in accordance with international law in a framework of restorative justice and social rehabilitation, consistent with international law which offers children special protection through numerous agreements and principles.” The MCA provides no such framework.Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was taken into custody by the US military in Afghanistan in 2002, and has been held at Guantanamo Bay since he was 16. He is now 21. Contact your Senators and Representatives today and tell them you -- and the rest of the world -- are watching. Again from Amnesty International:
“The US has violated international standards by refusing to recognize Omar Khadr’s status as a minor and treating him accordingly.”hat tip to Cousin Pete for the title of this post ....