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U.S. might try Iraqis before military tribunals

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2003


WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon appeared to send a message Friday to Iraqi leaders by including the use of poisons and taking of human shields in the list of offenses it will seek to prosecute in military tribunals for suspected terrorists.

In releasing a draft list of two dozen crimes that will be subject to prosecution in military trials for accused terrorists, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he would not rule out bringing Iraqis accused of committing war crimes before such tribunals.

"This would be one vehicle that would be available," Rumsfeld told reporters. "They could be brought to justice through a military commission, one would think."

President Bush authorized the establishment of military tribunals for suspected terrorists, primarily al-Qaida operatives in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has been drafting rules for the tribunals since the president issued orders authorizing them 15 months ago.

Iraqi opposition groups accomplish little at summit

SALAHUDDIN, Iraq -- A conference of U.S.-backed Iraqi groups opposed to President Saddam Hussein's government limped to a close Friday with confusion over who should be on a new opposition leadership committee and what it should do in the buildup to a widely expected U.S. attack to end Hussein's 30-year rule.

The committee has long been a source of rivalry among opposition organizations, some of which are based outside Iraq.

As the three-day meeting wound down, it was unclear that a single leader of the group would be named, because opposition figures feared that would give the titleholder a leg up in replacing Hussein.

Some opposition members had wanted the gathered delegates to form the basis of a provisional government. The Bush administration opposed the idea and announced that a U.S. general would govern Iraq for a time after Hussein's ouster.

Students to stage walkout Wednesday to protest war

Students at hundreds of high schools and colleges nationwide are planning a walkout Wednesday to protest the Bush administration's plans for war in Iraq.

The student strike is being coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, an organization of 15 student groups that came together after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The coalition, which calls the action Books Not Bombs, has linked student protests against war in Iraq with a call for better-financed schools.

"We're getting about 10 schools a day contacting us to participate, and it's probably about 35-40 percent high schools," said Andy Burns, an organizer signing up schools from his office in Little Rock, Ark.

Burns said he expected about 300 colleges and high schools to participate.

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