Friday, February 20, 2009

Application of the Third Geneva Convention in Afghanistan

From the Globe and Mail,19 Feb, 2009
article by Paul Koring
Prisoner transfers halted as early as spring 2007
"Voicing their doubts"

"At least some Canadian military police officers in Afghanistan were worried about what would happen to prisoners they handed over to Afghan authorities, according to transcripts of the Military Police complaints Commission's interview with Captain Jason Tarzwell, deputy commander of the Canadian military police deployed to Kandahar in the first months of Canada's move to the Taliban heartland.

"Capt Tarzwell: 'I didn't think with the Kandahar facility, detention facility that it was appropriate for us, Canada, to be directly involved in transferring folks to a prison that held political prisoners, adulterers and homosexuals and that I really didn't think it was Canada's responsibility to pick the spot where we were going to put them, because then we would have ownership of that problem.

'It was certainly laid out in the Geneva Convention 3[*] why we don't put people in prison.

'And then the folks in that particular prison, again, it wasn't something I felt Canada or Canadians should be involved in...

'Now, I made that determination, again, because that facility wasn't appropriate. I'm not sure why anyone else didn't look at it in the intervening time that I was gone, and say, hey that's not appropriate, but as the platoon commander there and the commander on the ground and responsible for that facility it clearly didn't meet the Geneva Convention.

'So I'm thinking either Major Fraser wasn't in tune with the Geneva Convention, or he never looked at it, or he didn't really put much thought into what was happening there...'

*Link to ICRC website added