The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Iraqis continue to accuse US troops of pillaging civilian homes

by Jon Elmer

Aug. 16, 2004 –

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Hundreds of claims alleging that US troops have stolen money and property during raids on Iraqi homes have been filed at the Iraqi Assistance Center in Baghdad, one of 60 such claims offices established across Iraq. Since American personnel are immune to charges from Iraqi courts, it is up to the US military itself to investigate and prosecute such cases.

Although claims of theft during US raids on homes have been widespread across Iraq, the true extent is difficult to ascertain. In Baghdad, both the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry and the Assistance Centre have been dealing, of late, with theft claimants at a rate of one every hour.

In a typical case, outlined in a Newsday report, Omar Abdullatif said he watched US soldiers pocket jewellery and thousands of Iraqi dinars during a night-time raid on his family home, which also led to the arrest of his 63 year-old father, himself, and two of his brothers. When Omar's mother, Razqya Hasan, attempted to file a claim at the Human Rights Ministry she was refused entry by a guard who told her to take her problem up with the Americans. "I hate America for this," Hasan said, complaining that "it doesn't matter if you're innocent or not."

Stealing from civilians in lands occupied or invaded is strictly addressed as a war crime by both the Geneva and Hague conventions of war.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Jon Elmer is a contributing journalist.

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