6 June 2006
US exclusion of Geneva principle would be a victory for
expediency over principle
Moves by the Pentagon to exclude a key principle of the Geneva Conventions that bans ‘humiliating and degrading
treatment’ would be a victory of expediency over principle, and would weaken the moral basis for any stance against
terrorism,” Vice-President of the Tasmanian branch of the ICJ Michael Stokes said today.
“The Geneva Conventions adopt agreed standards designed to limit human brutality in times of war. Once we abandon those
standards, we risk a slide into barbarism. That plays into the hands of extremists one of whose aims is to show that we
are as brutal and as fanatical as they are.
“We greatly weaken our criticism of extremist groups for being prepared to use unrestrained violence and for hostility
to democratic values and human rights if we abandon these standards, which are designed to impose restraints on the use
of force in war and to protect the basic rights of persons caught up in war.
“The ICJ Tasmania calls on the Australian Government and the Opposition to send the strongest message to the US that
Australia opposes any abandonment of Geneva principles. Australia’s participation in the any future international
military activities with the US should be conditional on that country’s adherence to basic international human rights