Sent today via Joint Chiefs Web site:
24 March 2003, 2110 GMT
*** URGENT ***
Richard B. Meyers, General USAF
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Charles B. Gittings Jr,
Project to Enforce the Geneva Conventions (PEGC)
Oakland, California, USA
It is my duty as a citizen of the United States and a human being to call your
attention to certain matters in respect to the hostilities now in progress as a
result of the attack being prosecuted by the armed forces of the United States
(1) The following report has come to my attention concerning statements by
yourself and by President Bush:
Sunday, March 23, 2003 Posted: 2:48 PM EST (1948 GMT)
President Bush told reporters Sunday that he expected the prisoners to be treated humanely.
"I expect them to be treated as POWs," said Bush as he returned to the White House from Camp David, Maryland.
Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the soldiers' appearance a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
"This is just one more crime by the Iraqi regime," a grim-faced Myers said at the Pentagon shortly after the capture had been confirmed.
(2) I must remind you of Geneva Common Art. 3:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples
(3) I must caution you that the Geneva Conventions (1949), apply to all persons caught up in the present armed conflict in Iraq and in all other places where events proximate to that conflict may transpire, without exception.
(4) Statements about the status of specific persons or acts should not be made in public, but should be reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva. Questions respecting crimes or responsibility for crimes should be resolved by regular and orderly proceedings according to law which accord all accused persons full respect for their lawful rights and their humanity.
(5) I have been investigating compliance by the United States with the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties pertaining to the laws of war, as well as the relation of those events and laws to others laws in the US code and Constitution. My investigation has in particular centered on the treatment of prisoners at US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay.
(6) On information and belief, I must advise you that in my opinion the 11/13/2001 Presidential Military Order and DoD Military Commission Order #1 are both violations of the Geneva Conventions and 18 USC 2441. Any order based on them would be a violation of 18 USC 2441.
(7) I urge both US and Iraqi forces to respect and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions at all times and in all places.
(8) I urge both US and Iraqi forces to avoid any and all statements either in public or private which might be prejudicial to the treatment of prisoners by either side in the present armed conflict. The purpose of the Geneva Conventions is to ameliorate suffering in war, and to ensure that all persons who fall into the hands of an enemy are treated with humanity and justice.
(9) Any question of criminal responsibility for acts in violation of laws or international agreements having the status of laws should be resolved by the due process of law before a competent and regularly constituted judicial authority.
Charles B Gittings Jr
770 Kingston Ave #304
Oakland, CA 94611