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Rumsfeld issues war crimes warning to Iraqis

[JURIST] In a press briefing Thursday Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned Iraqi personnel that they would be prosecuted for war crimes if they committed various destructive acts:

If Saddam Hussein or his generals issue orders to use weapons of mass destruction, whether on coalition forces, Free Iraqi Forces, neighboring countries or innocent Iraqi civilians as they have done before, those orders should not be followed. Do not follow orders to destroy dams or flood villages. Do not follow orders to destroy your country's oil, which is the Iraqi people's, and they will need it to rebuild their country when that regime is gone. Following such orders would be to commit crimes against the Iraqi people. See those orders for what they are -- the last desperate gasp of a dying regime. Those who follow orders to commit such crimes will be found and they will be punished. War crimes will be prosecuted, and it will be no excuse to say, "I was just following orders." Any official involved in such crimes will forfeit hope of amnesty or leniency with respect to past actions.
The complete text of the Defense Secretary's briefing is now available from the Defense Department.

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