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For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2003

For more information contact:
Barbara Elias - 202 / 994-7000

U.S. Army Identified 500 Alleged Iraqi War Criminals in 1992,
Report Released under FOIA is a Precursor to 2003 War Crimes Proceedings

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2003 - U.S. Army lawyers identified more than 500 Iraqis allegedly guilty of war crimes during the Gulf War period, according to a November 1992 Defense Department report posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General summary [with a November 19, 1992 Defense Department cover memo titled, "Report on Iraqi War Crimes (Desert Shield/ Desert Storm)" signed by John H. McNeill, Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs & Intelligence] details the Iraqi war crimes evidence that may be used in the near future to prosecute Iraqi officials brought before U.S. military tribunals and discloses the procedures by which the U.S. Army collects evidence and processes war crimes.

The Iraqis responsible for 1991 war crimes never directly came under Coalition control in 1991 and therefore were never brought to trial. There remains, however, no statute of limitations on these charges and the Army Judge Advocate General will almost certainly try captured individuals in 2003 for alleged war crimes committed in 1991. Saddam Hussein is unmistakably one of the individuals targeted for a war crimes trial in 2003, as the 1992 report outlines that there "are war crimes for which Saddam Husayn, officials of the Ba'ath Party, and his subordinates bear responsibility. However, the principal responsibility rests with Saddam Husayn." On March 15, 2003, the Bush administration identified nine Iraqi officials, including Saddam Hussein and his two sons, who if captured during an American-commanded attack on Iraq, will be tried for war crimes or crimes against humanity. ("U.S. Names Iraqis Who Would Face War Crimes Trial," The New York Times, March 16, 2003, p.A1)

The fourteen-page McNeill report distinctively outlines the relevant law of war treaties and U.N. Security Council resolutions violated by the Iraqi regime in 1991 and provides details of the JAG's war crimes findings. Also included as fact in the November 1992 report is the controversial story of 120 Kuwaiti infants left to die after being removed from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers. Amnesty International expressed its doubts regarding the validity of this story in January 1992, after it was discovered that the public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton Co., representing Citizens for a Free Kuwait, had supplied the main witness, and after Amnesty researchers investigating the claim, ''found no reliable evidence that Iraqi forces had caused the deaths of babies by removing them, or ordering their removal, from incubators.'' ("Testimony of Kuwaiti Envoy's Child Assailed," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 8, 1992, p.1C)

The 1992 report concludes: "The national command authorities of Iraq, as well as individual Iraqi officials, perpetrated numerous war crimes against both military and civilian personnel of the United States and Kuwait. The War Crimes Documentation Center has assembled the evidence to prove it."

Report on Iraqi War Crimes (Desert Shield/Desert Storm) (648 KB - Adobe PDF)
U.S. Army Judge Advocate General
November 1992

For other declassified documents on Iraq and U.S. policy see:

Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction -- National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 80, Edited by Jeffrey Richelson. December 20, 2002, Updated - February 26, 2003

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984 -- National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82. Edited by Joyce Battle. February 25, 2003

About the National Security ArchiveArchive NewsDeclassified Documents OnlineArchive ProjectsArchive PublicationsFreedom of Information ActInternship OpportunitiesGuide for Researchers