Association of Humanitarian Lawyers


SUPPLEMENTAL SUBMISSION
TO THE
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
BY
THE ASSOCIATION OF HUMANTARIAN LAWYERS AND
HUMANITARIAN LAW PROJECT/ INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
ON BEHALF OF
UNNAMED, UNNUMBERED PATIENTS AND MEDICAL STAFF, BOTH LIVING AND DEAD,
OF THE FALLUJA GENERAL HOSPITAL AND A TRAUMA CLINIC
AGAINST
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Karen Parker
Attorney for Petitioners

CONTENTS

BRIEF STATEMENT OF THIS SUBMISSION

ADDITION OF NAMED PETITIONERS ON A PROVISIONAL BASIS

ADDITIONAL VICTIMS AND FACILITIES

PRESUMPTION OF THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS AND NAPALM

THE CONTINUING EMERGENCY AND VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

CONCLUSION

DOCUMENTS

Tab 1. Statement of the International Committee of the Red Cross, 19 November 2004.

CNN News, "Red Cross slams Iraq fighting," 20 November 2004.

Tab 2. M. Schuman, "Falluja's Health Damage, " in The Nation, 13 December, 2004.

Tab 3. Dahr Jamail, "Fallujah Refugees," in Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, 23 November 2004.

Tab 4. Dahr Jamail [?], "Liberating Fallujah," in Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, 17 November, 2004.

Tab 5. A.J. Rubin, "Doctor is haunted by siege of Fallujah," in Los Angeles Times, 15 November 2004.

Tab 6. FOX News, "Assault on Fallujah Under Way, 8 November 2004.

P. Gilfeather, "Fallujah Napalmed," in Sunday Mirror.co.uk, 28 November 2004.

Note: Tables are not included on this version.

BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Since we filed our Petition 18 November 2004 Petitioners have sought to find additional information to assist the Commission in its deliberations. This Submission provides the names of persons provisionally identified as named petitioners, information about other victims and medical facilities attacked by United States military forces, information about use of weapons containing DU and use of napalm and other incendiary weapons in and near medical facilities, the failure of the United States forces adequately to provide emergency medical care and facilities for all sick and wounded persons, the blocking by the United States authorities of humanitarian aid destined for the victims in Falluja, and the on-going acute emergency at all medical facilities in Falluja.

ADDITION OF NAMED PETITIONERS ON A PROVISIONAL BASIS

Petitioners have credible information about persons killed on 9 November 2004 at a medical facility in Falluja bombed by United States forces, provided by Dr. Sami al-Jumaili to Dr. Miles Schuman, a Canadian. (Tab 2). While many of the victims of that attack were not named, the following persons were identified by Dr. al-Jaumaili as having been killed: health aides Sami Omar and Omar Mahmoud; nurses Ali Amini and Omar Ahmed; and physicians Muhammad Abbass, Hamid Rabia, Saluan al-Kubaissy and Mustafa Sheriff. Organizational Petitioners submit these persons as provisional named petitioners pending formal authorization of their next of kin.

ADDITIONAL VICTIMS AND FACILITIES

In addition to attacks on Falluja General Hospital and a trauma center, there is credible information that Central Health Centre was bombed, killing 35 patients, 15 medics and others. (Tab 3). The provisional named petitioners were among those killed. Petitioners cannot verify if this is the "trauma" center identified in the Petition or another facility. An adjacent building storing medical supplies next to the Health Center was also destroyed. There is credible evidence that the only ambulance not already confiscated by the United States forces was attacked, and a driver, a health aid and five patients were all killed. (Tab 3). There is also evidence of another clinic being attacked, with 12 persons killed and 17 wounded. (Tab 7). Another facility, referred to as a "triage center" was attacked, apparently causing the death of 2 or 3 resident doctors and most of the patients. (Tab 5). According to its doctor, Dr. Admed Ghanim, who also worked at Falluja General Hospital, the United States forces prevented medical personnel from treating the many civilian victims who died in the streets. There is also credible information that surviving medical workers were told that they would be fired if they disclosed what happened in the health facilities. (Tab 4).

Petitioners will continue to compile information about victims, facilities and supplies but caution that at this time it is difficult to get information, and it appears as if the "embedded" members of the press are prevented from reporting information about medical facilities.

PRESUMPTION OF THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS AND NAPALM

Petitioners have submitted evidence of the use of both Abrams and Bradley tanks in Falluja, both of which fire munitions containing depleted uranium. Eyewitness accounts as well as the opinion of experts in the field of munitions and military vehicles who have reviewed videos of battles, support Petitioners claim that DU munitions were used in the recent attacks in Falluja. However, the annihilation of the medical facilities and resources in Falluja make clear confirmation difficult without use of, for example, radiation-detecting equipment or recovery of DU projectiles in the area. In this light, Petitioners will continue to seek reliable information. There have also been reports of phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs that need further investigation.

The use of napalm, however, seems relatively confirmed, as the British Parliament is in an uproar over disclosures of its use in Falluja. (Tab 7). While Petitioners note that the United States has not ratified the convention against napalm, Petitioners assert that napalm is prohibited by operation of humanitarian law binding on Respondent Government, a legal conclusion also reached by United Nations human rights bodies and experts. All injuries stemming from the use of napalm are automatically violations of the right to life and health under the American Declaration because illegal weapons cannot be used to justify "military necessity" under that doctrine in humanitarian law.

THE CONTINUING EMERGENCY AND VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued a statement about the humanitarian crisis in Falluja and violations of humanitarian law. (Tab 1). The statement specifically indicate the obligation of the parties to a conflict to provide "adequate medical care for the wounded - friend or foe - on the battlefield or to allow them to be taken elsewhere for treatment." It further states the obligation to help persons caught up in the fighting to obtain subsistence needs such as food, water and health care. It is patently clear that the Respondent Government is not complying with this directive. While the Iraqi Red Crescent was recently allowed to enter Falluja, it has not been able to provide anywhere near the help needed. (Tab 6).

In this light, Petitioners stress that the acts it committed in Falluja against medical facilities, personnel and patients, was well as the complete disruption of medical care to sick and wounded, are identified as grave breaches of humanitarian law under, inter alia, Article 147 of Geneva Convention IV. As such, they must be considered as aggravated, exceptionally serious violations of the human rights provisions of the American Declaration identified in the Petition.

Petitioners also stress that the Respondent Government is barely providing anything to the victims at this point, and is therefore putting those still alive at far greater risk.

CONCLUSION

Petitioners respectfully request the Commission to provisionally allow the above named persons as named petitioners. Petitioners again respectfully request that due to the urgency of the situation, action by the Commission be undertaken as soon as possible under the provisions indicated in the Petition, with a particular emphasis on an on-site visit. Petitioners again request leave to submit additional documentation and assert a willingness to address any issue raised by the Commission for further examination or argument.

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Parker, J.D.
Attorney for Petitioners

30 November 2004