Bombing of journalists “may have been a war crime”

first_imgNews April 9, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Bombing of journalists “may have been a war crime” IraqMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information to go further RSF_en Organisation Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan Reporters Without Borders called today on the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to urgently investigate the bombing of journalists in Iraq which it said may have been a war crime under international law. Follow the news on Iraq December 16, 2020 Find out more News Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” News February 15, 2021 Find out more December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa Reporters Without Borders calls for an impartial, objective and independent enquiry by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.It said the “unsatisfactory” explanations given by US officials for attacks on journalists in Baghdad this week underlined the need for the Commission to look into such violations of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of civilians in wartime.”We asked you on 1 April to investigate the bombing of Iraqi TV headquarters but we received no reply,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to the Commission’s president, Sir Kenneth Keith.”We are now approaching you again to urge you to carry out your duty to investigate these attacks and others on journalists and media covering the war in Iraq. Attacks on civilians, which include journalists, and on civilian property are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions,” he said.”The neighbouring Baghdad offices of the Arab TV stations Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, as well as the Palestine Hotel – both known to US forces as places where journalists were living and working – were attacked deliberately and without warning by US forces on 8 April, killing three journalists.”The bombing of the TV station offices could not have been an error.  Al-Jazeera has told US forces where all its offices in Iraq are and has hung large banners outside them marked “TV.””US officials said a US tank fired on the Palestine Hotel because rockets were being fired from it.  None of the journalists there saw any such thing and said that in fact things were very quiet in the area when the tank took several minutes to adjust its gun and then fired.  Film by the French TV station France 3 confirmed this version of events.”These conflicting versions require an impartial, objective and independent enquiry by the Commission you head,” Ménard told Sir Keith. “These events are too serious to be left solely in the hands of an investigation by US officials, who have already refused to give any details about the killing of a British TV journalist under British-US gunfire in Basra on 22 March and the disappearance of two of his colleagues caught in the incident.”US Col. David Perkins, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, said yesterday US troops had now been told not to fire on the hotel, even if shots came from it.A spokesman for the Spanish defence ministry (one of the dead journalists was Spanish) said US-British forces had declared the hotel a military target on 6 April on grounds that Iraqi leaders were meeting there. He said US-British forces had told journalists at the hotel about this.No media or journalist appears to have been warned of the attack, contrary to the obligation set out in the Geneva Conventions to give due and effective warning.The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission was set up in 1991 (based in Bern, Switzerland) under the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions and has the job of investigating any alleged serious violation of international humanitarian law. To date it has received no cases to investigate.To have jurisdiction, it has to be petitioned by one of the parties to a conflict or by one of the countries that have recognised its jurisdiction.  To conduct an investigation, all the belligerents must accept its authority.  Among the countries involved in the Iraq war, only Australia and the United Kingdom have formally recognised it, allowing an investigation to go ahead as far as they are concerned. The United States and Iraq have not yet accepted the principle of such an enquiry. Receive email alerts RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” Newslast_img read more

Fears of World Cup without Messi as Argentina stutter

first_imgBuenos Aires, Argentina | AFP | Argentina’s poor run of results in the South American qualifiers has left everyone contemplating the unthinkable: a World Cup next summer without Lionel Messi.The dreaded question looms large after an uninspiring draw at home to last-placed Venezuela this week left Argentina adrift of the automatic qualifying places for Russia 2018.Veteran coach Cesar Luis Menotti described the latest performance as “scary” and had some choice words for coach Jorge Sampaoli, who like his predecessors is struggling with how best to use Messi’s verve in a team which has failed to find its spark.“The truth is, it was a shock. Seeing all this was a shock! I played two games against Venezuela: in Caracas we won 7-0 and in Rosario 11-0. Eighteen goals in two games!“And now I see that it’s hard for us to beat Venezuela? There’s something that we’re not doing well,” said Menotti, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1978.The goals have dried up. Argentina were on a run of 309 minutes without scoring in these qualifiers when they finally got an own-goal against Venezuela.Menotti levelled most of his scorn at the tactics used by Sampaoli, the former Chile and Seville coach. “I don’t understand the team.“It’s not the same thing to lead Seville as it is Argentina. Especially if you have Messi.”The diminutive 30-year-old cuts an increasingly isolated figure on the pitch, bereft of teammates who can give him the right pass at the right time, according to former Argentine international Alberto Marcico.“Messi is more isolated, in the past he was better served by those around him.”Messi’s current lieutenants, Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi, haven’t been able to provide the service the star is used to in his slick club side Barcelona, and more often than not he is crowded out by defenders waiting to pounce when the ball finally comes.— ‘Like Tango’ —The over-reliance on Messi is striking for Menotti, saying Sampaoli must change how Argentina use him.“They use drones, they give talks, they put put fourteen guys to work and when he gets the ball, Messi bolts forward to see if he can take everyone on. It’s very difficult,” he said.“Football is like Tango. You can’t run around all the time.” Messi in action recently“Football has pause. It has acceleration, it has rhythms, it has changes. The way Argentina play makes you dizzy, and that’s the worst enemy of a footballer,” Menotti told FoxSports.For commentator and former player Diego Latorre, Argentina’s problems go deeper than Messi.“Psychological issues play a very important role in how a game develops, and this team still has a block in its nervous system that can’t be turned off.”Argentina’s priceless forward line is too easily shepherded down blind alleys, playing “like a pack of hungry wolves without teeth who finish up meekly in a corral after 90 minutes,” Latorre wrote in the daily La Nacion.Aside for an over-reliance on Messi, the team has a heavy psychological burden to bear.“They lost three finals, and that’s heavy,” said Marcico, referring to the 2014 World Cup final — lost to Germany in extra-time — and successive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.Now, Argentina have just two matches to redeem themselves, hosting fourth-placed Peru in Buenos Aires next month before an awkward final match away to Ecuador at altitude.The top four in the table qualify for next year’s finals, which the fifth-placed team will face a play-off with New Zealand.Former national coach Marcelo Bielsa, now with Lille in France, remains confident that Argentina will prevail in their two remaining matches.“I am absolutely convinced that Argentina will qualify,” he said.But the fear remains that the burden of a nation’s expectations can crush the best of talents, and leave mighty Argentina without a place at a World Cup finals for the first time since Mexico 1970.And it could also leave the world without the spectacle of arguably its greatest player slaloming through defences in Russia next July, depriving him of one last chance to crown his career with ultimate football glory.RELATED VIDEO:Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more