Human Rights Developments Since Liberation
Far from recognizing the importance of upholding human rights standards after witnessing the atrocities committed by Iraqi occupying forces, the reinstated Kuwaiti government disregarded those standards as soon as it returned from exile on February 26, 1991. The pretext for these abuses was a government-inspired quest to root out those who had collaborated with the Iraqi occupiers and to restructure Kuwaiti society to make it more reliable politically. Throughout the year, statements continued to be issued by senior Kuwaiti government officials, including the emir and the crown prince, that amounted to invitations to abuse.2 The victims, almost uniformly long-term residents of Kuwait, are principally Palestinians, Iraqis and the stateless Arabs known as Bedoons.
The nature of Kuwaiti abuse has changed over time. During March and April, summary executions, as well as deaths in detention caused by beatings and neglect, were the most pressing problem. Scores were killed at the hands of Kuwaiti forces, according to testimony collected by Middle East Watch. Other evidence of the scope of the killings included fifty-four unidentified bodies of victims of post-liberation killings discovered in a mass grave on the outskirts of Kuwait City.
Between May and August, as the trials of suspected collaborators inflamed anti-Palestinian and anti-Bedoon hostility, large-scale arrests and forced deportations became the predominant abuse. Although martial law was lifted on June 26, torture continued until September, when the administration of prisons changed and prison conditions improved. Even then, arbitrary arrests continued, albeit on a smaller scale. Expulsions of Palestinians, Bedoons and Iraqis also continued, and pressure on these communities to leave Kuwait was unabated.
Although the Kuwaiti government has attempted to place the blame for abuse on forces beyond its control, most were in fact committed by official security forces or by irregular armed groups working closely with official forces. These included many returning exiles intent on revenge who were openly welcomed by an army eager to augment its reduced ranks. Frustrated by the lack of opportunity to fight the Iraqi occupiers, these armed forces redefined the "enemy" to include the above-listed disfavored nationalities. The most notorious source of abuse has been the State Security Investigative Police (Mabaheth Amn al-Dawla or SSIP), which reportedly actively recruited hundreds of youths, often of unscrupulous bent, who were granted wide discretion to arrest, beat and hold prisoners incommunicado for long periods.
The highest levels of the Kuwaiti government share responsibility for these abuses in that they have yet to arrest or prosecute any of those responsible, in notable contrast to the vigor with which the government has pursued perceived collaborators with the Iraqi occupiers. To the contrary, the periodic government calls to cleanse Kuwait of a presumed fifth column have, if anything, further inspired this violence.
The government's hand in flouting international standards was most readily apparent in the charade that passed for trials in the martial-law tribunals charged with judging suspected collaborators. The proceedings, several of which were attended by Middle East Watch observers, were fundamentally marred by a series of due-process shortcomings, in violation of international fair-trial standards to which Kuwait has subscribed, including Article 75 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. In addition to the routine introduction of confessions coerced through torture, defendants were systematically interrogated by the police, the prosecutor and often the court without the benefit of having consulted with counsel; conduct not clearly proscribed by pre-existing criminal law was often penalized; evidence of guilt other than coerced confessions was often slight or nonexistent; no appeal was permitted, and the informal clemency review process, while commuting all death sentences to life imprisonment, reaffirmed every conviction entered by the martial-law courts without even hearing from defense lawyers; and the trial court, on the rare occasion that it showed any willingness to consider the frequently raised defense that the Iraqi occupiers had forced defendants to perform certain tasks, paid little or no apparent heed to the differing duties of loyalty to the Kuwaiti government-in-exile that could fairly be expected from Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti citizens. The result was that 118 of the 164 defendants tried were sentenced to harsh prison terms, with no further judicial recourse. They remain in prison, despite the Kuwaiti government's efforts in other areas to mollify some of the worst abuses of the immediate post-liberation period.
Deportation of long-term residents began shortly after liberation, accelerated during the summer months and continued throughout the year. Although the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Kuwait is a party, provides for the protection of Iraqis, Palestinians, Bedoons and others in Kuwait, its terms were systematically flouted in the process of summarily deporting these groups. Stateless Bedoons and Palestinians have been expelled without any provision being made for their acceptance by another country. Refugees who fled persecution in Iraq have been returned to Saddam Hussein's grasp. Expulsions have proceeded without any opportunity to challenge deportation before an independent tribunal.
Promises by the Kuwaiti government-in-exile to reconvene the National Assembly, suspended in July 1986, and restore basic freedoms were broken as soon as the ruling Sabah family was reinstated. Martial law was declared on February 26 and extended until June 26. Pre-existing censorship regulations for the press were resumed, leading to the closure of the first post-liberation newspaper, February 26. After months of equivocation, the government called for the election of the National Assembly in October 1992. Meanwhile, it revived the near-defunct National Council, a rubber-stamp advisory body which is considered an affront by Kuwait's growing constitutional movement. National Council members are being groomed to run as government candidates in the 1992 parliamentary elections against an opposition deprived of the right of free assembly or expression.
Despite this dismal beginning, human rights conditions gradually improved as the year progressed as international outrage over the government's conduct mounted. Summary executions largely stopped after the first two months, and prison conditions improved dramatically over the summer. In August and September, procedures for the detention and trial of state security suspects were also revised and improved. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was granted access to all detention centers _ though not all detainees _ and was allowed to interview all those being deported.
Scores of non-Kuwaiti residents were killed in 1991 by Kuwaiti security forces or groups working closely with them. Some of those killed were summarily executed with a bullet to the head while others died in official Kuwaiti custody as a result of torture, denial of medical care or lack of water. Most killings occurred in March and April, but some took place thereafter. Kuwaiti officials have so far failed to provide a full accounting of these killings or bring any of the perpetrators to justice.
One Kuwaiti cemetery, al-Rigga, holds fifty-four "unidentified" bodies of people who have been killed or died in unexplained circumstances since the week after liberation, according to cemetery records. Most of the killings were recorded as having occurred in March, but six were listed as having taken place in April and one in May. Middle East Watch research points clearly to government complicity in these deaths. A report issued by Middle East Watch in September, A Victory Turned Sour, identified over forty extrajudicial killings, the majority of Palestinians. Many others who have disappeared may also be dead, but Kuwait has prevented evaluation of these cases by keeping several hundred prisoners in incommunicado detention and by deporting others without notifying their families.
The Kuwaiti government has set up no effective mechanism to trace those who have disappeared since liberation. The Kuwaiti Association to Defend War Victims and a Palestinian group have registered the names of the disappeared. One Palestinian reported to Middle East Watch that he had been subjected to a threatening interrogation by security forces who accused him of compiling a list of detained and disappeared Palestinians.
Because of these difficulties it has not been possible to determine the precise number of those unaccounted for since liberation, but Middle East Watch believes it to be in the hundreds, including some who may have been deported without notice to their family. Middle East Watch was given one list of over one hundred Palestinians who have been missing since their arrest. Other sources have given Middle East Watch scores of additional names.
Cases documented by Middle East Watch of those who disappeared at the hands of Kuwaiti security forces include Bedoons, Palestinians and Iraqis. Among them are individuals who have disappeared since the first days after liberation. For example, Aifan Ali Dhaher al-Enezy, 45, a Bedoon civilian employee of the Ministry of Defense, and his son Abdalla, 23, have disappeared since they were taken from their home on February 27 by a group of armed men and have not been heard from since. Hafez Abdel Haleem, a 55-year-old Palestinian employee of the government power company, has disappeared since March 4.
Torture and ill-treatment were systematic in Kuwaiti places of detention in the first six months after liberation. In the period immediately following liberation, the Kuwaiti military and "resistance" started a simultaneous campaign of arresting people suspected of having cooperated with the Iraqi occupiers or harbored sympathy for Iraq. The "resistance" as used here refers to a heterogeneous grouping that includes some of those who actually fought the Iraqi occupiers as well as ordinary civilians and elements of the regular Kuwaiti army and police who joined following liberation. Young Kuwaitis who returned from exile and joined the resistance or the army were widely considered to be especially prone to perpetuating abuses. Although there were some differences between the military and the resistance, the two groups often seemed to work cooperatively. Some rank-and-file members worked in both camps.
In the large number of detention centers said by Kuwaiti officials to be outside the control of the military and to be run solely by members of the resistance, summary justice was the order of the day during the first month after liberation. Execution, torture and beatings were meted out against those suspected of having betrayed Kuwait. Survivors were either released or handed over to the military.
In prisons under complete military control, such as the Military Prison, most detainees were held in extremely crowded cells and suffered severe shortages of water, medical care and food, leading to numerous deaths. A relief official who visited the Military Prison in late March and early April told Middle East Watch that detainees were "dying rapidly."
Conditions at the Juvenile Detention Facility, used mainly from early April through mid-August, were better: torture was not as systematic, and the ICRC and families had access to most detainees.3 One former detainee told Middle East Watch of mistreatment by the guards, including what he described as "night-time beating parties." Another prisoner reported that while this prison was a considerable improvement over the G-1 (National Guard) facility, where he previously had been held, prisoners were still beaten and medical care was inadequate. In incidents reported to Middle East Watch, beatings of prisoners continued even in the presence of outside observers.
The State Security Investigative Police (SSIP) held hundreds of prisoners incommunicado throughout 1991. SSIP has a number of holding cells, some of which are exposed to the harsh Kuwaiti sun, with day-time temperatures that frequently exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When the SSIP was reconstituted shortly after liberation, unemployed youths were recruited, including elements described by human rights observers as unscrupulous, thus increasing the danger of further mistreatment of prisoners. By year's end, SSIP had become the main force implicated in human rights abuses in Kuwait.
While the Kuwaiti government declared that its policy was to protect the rights of detainees, it did not act firmly to enforce this policy. For example, the government's use of incommunicado detention facilitated acts of torture and mistreatment. From February 26 until March 23, almost all detainees were held incommunicado. On March 23, the ICRC gained access for the first time to a detention facility, the Military Prison. Family visits followed, but most detainees did not see their lawyers until after the martial-law trials started on May 19, when lawyers were allowed to see clients who had been formally charged. The ICRC did not secure access to the Deportations Prison until June 9, and access to the G-1 and State Security Investigative Police detention facilities did not come until August. By December, the government had granted the ICRC access to all known places of detention, but ten months after liberation, the ICRC was still not permitted to see all detainees. Inmates report that some prisoners are hidden during ICRC visits. In addition, under the Kuwaiti practice of briefly holding suspects before deporting them without judicial hearing, some detainees are never visited by the ICRC before they are moved to the Deportation Prison. Released state-security detainees who are persuaded through threats to leave the country "voluntarily" are not usually seen by the ICRC.
In another example of failure to implement stated policy, the Kuwaiti government told Middle East Watch in late March that assistant prosecutors _ representing the Ministry of Justice _ would be assigned to police stations. However, this process took months to complete, leaving detainees unprotected by any civilian presence. Even when Justice Ministry representatives were on hand, police officers in charge did not always defer to their authority. In the first several months after liberation, nearly all detainees were tortured.
Among detention places where Middle East Watch documented torture as having taken place were the Military Prison, the G-1 facility, and the headquarters of the State Security Investigative Police. Torture also took place at Mubarak al-Kabir Hospital, the Teachers Association Building in the al-Jahra district, private homes, and the Sabah al-Salem, Khaitan, al-Jaberiyya, al-Nugra and al-Jahra South police stations.
The martial-law trials of alleged collaborators exposed the systematic use of torture to extract confessions. Confessions were frequently the only evidence against defendants, and Kuwaiti prosecutors seemed to believe that a confession, regardless of how it was obtained, was "the master of all evidence."4 One military officer defended the treatment of prisoners by saying that "they all confessed their crimes." Another was more blunt: "We have to use force to make them confess. They would not confess without the use of force." When asked about evidence against alleged collaborators, Abdel Aziz al-Dakhil, deputy minister of justice, said, "Of course it depends on confessions. That is the main method."5
For example, Usama Suhail Hussein was sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) on June 15, for his alleged work in the production of the occupation newspaper, al-Nida'. According to family members, he was tortured with live electric wires on sensitive parts of his body. He was made to sit on a lit kerosene heater which so scalded parts of his body that during his trial he could not sit on a chair. His family also reported that he had cigarette burns on his body and that medical care had not been adequate.
Other defendants tried before martial-law courts had broken shoulders, wrists burned by handcuffs through which electric current had been passed, broken fingers, welts from severe beatings, cigarette burns and variety of other marks left by torture inflicted to extract confessions.
Persistent reports of torture in Kuwait by the press and human rights organizations _ both local and international _ finally moved the Kuwaiti government to order a stop to this systematic official practice. Although there have been occasional governmental reports of investigation into abuses, no one is known to have been brought to justice. Systematic torture appears to have stopped since September, but Middle East Watch has continued to receive reports from family members and foreign reporters visiting Kuwait about individual incidents of torture of detainees held by the State Security Investigative Police.
From March through July, there were persistent reports of rape of Asian women by Kuwaiti forces and other armed men in Kuwait. The women were usually stopped or taken from their homes under the pretext of checking their immigration papers and then raped. Middle East Watch has no evidence to indicate that these rapes were committed as part of a deliberate government policy. However, the Kuwaiti government is nonetheless responsible for these crimes insofar as it did not fulfil its duty to protect residents of Kuwait by vigorously investigating and prosecuting the rapists. This failure is particularly glaring when, as was often the case in these crimes, rape was committed by those in uniform.
A U.S. adviser to the Kuwaiti government was quoted as making the astonishing admission that the reason for the prevalence of rape was a combination of a shortage of police officers to conduct investigations plus the fact that "the police don't care because [the victims] are only Filipinos or Sri Lankans."6 This official indifference transforms what would ordinarily be a common crime into a governmental act of omission in violation of the victims' human rights.
Since liberation, thousands of people have been detained without due process of law. Detainees have been mostly Palestinians, Iraqis and Bedoons, but also include Sudanese, Egyptians, Tunisians and Kuwaiti citizens. Because the government has not given a full accounting, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how many have been detained. Middle East Watch estimates that more than six thousand were detained between February 27 and the end of November.
Although the number of those arrested each day has declined considerably, arrests continue as the Kuwaiti government persists in its articulated belief that there are large numbers of Iraqi agents in Kuwait. In his address to the first session of the National Council on July 9, Crown Prince and Prime Minister Shaikh Sa'ad al-Abdalla said that the government is continuing its quest to "purify the country of the evil elements that constitute a danger to its security."7 On November 21, Shaikh Ali al-Sabah, minister of defense, told the government daily Sawt al-Kuwait that there were still "fifth columnists" in Kuwait. As late as December 12, the crown prince reiterated this position in an interview with the Saudi weekly al-Majalla (The Magazine).8
Most of those apprehended were detained without a warrant or any other mechanism to protect them against arbitrary arrest, and some were then deported. Although the government announced at the end of March that all house searches had to be authorized in advance in writing, no such procedure was required for arrests.
Most of these arrests were plainly arbitrary. For example, Middle East Watch representatives witnessed the arrest of several people simply because they were of a nationality deemed sympathetic to Saddam Hussein or because they had answered questions in a manner seen as impertinent by soldiers who themselves were rude and aggressive. Middle East Watch also documented the arbitrary arrest of doctors and other health professionals because of their nationality. Those seen talking to foreign reporters were also arrested.
Detainees formally charged with collaboration often appeared to be held on the basis of dubious evidence. As described below, many of those found guilty of collaboration by the martial-law tribunals were convicted on the basis of confessions obtained by torture. For example, on June 20, the Fourth Martial Law Court sentenced Malek Muhammed Ahmed Mas'ood, a fifteen-year-old Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, to twelve years' imprisonment followed by deportation. He was accused of having joined a Palestinian militia, received weapons' training, and possessed a firearm for the purpose of aiding the Iraqi occupation. Two of his brothers, Ma'moon and Ayman, both in their early twenties, were sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) in the same case, one of them in absentia. According to his family, Malek was tortured to extract a confession used to convict his brothers.9
During the martial-law trials that lasted from May 19 to the end of martial law on June 26, seventy-four cases were resolved involving 164 defendants, 122 of whom were present. One hundred eighteen were convicted and forty-six acquitted. Sentences ranged from one year in jail to the death penalty; twenty-nine death sentences were imposed but later commuted to life imprisonment. The defendants included forty-seven Jordanians or Palestinians with Jordanian passports, six Palestinians with other documents, forty-seven Iraqis, twenty-two Bedoons, twenty Kuwaitis, three Lebanese, five of other nationalities and fourteen tried in absentia of unknown nationality. With one notable exception, Kuwaiti defendants received lighter sentences than the others.10
Despite the Kuwaiti government's stated willingness to conduct the trials of suspected collaborators in accordance with basic standards of fairness,11 the actual proceedings were marred by serious violations of the fair-trial principles set forth in Article 75 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, which Kuwait has ratified. The courts relied primarily on confessions extracted by torture; denied defendants sufficient time to consult with lawyers; and failed to give defendants and their lawyers an opportunity to examine the evidence before trial, to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, or to present witnesses in their defense. The courts also seemingly ignored the varying degrees of loyalty that might legitimately be required of Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti citizens toward the Kuwaiti government-in-exile.
A substantial majority of the defendants on trial complained of severe beatings to induce them to confess to alleged crimes of collaboration, and in some cases signs of torture were clearly visible. These complaints were corroborated by extensive testimony collected by Middle East Watch showing the prevalent and systematic use of torture in Kuwaiti detention centers. However, rather than discard all confessions secured by coercion _ the minimum required by fair-trial standards _ the prosecution and the courts relied on these confessions as their main source of evidence. In very few cases did the prosecution introduce direct evidence against the accused, particularly on the often critical issue of whether the defendant had sufficiently resisted pressure to cooperate with Iraqi authorities.
In several cases, there was no apparent justification for trying the defendants before martial-law tribunals. For example, on June 5, two Yemeni boys aged eleven and twelve were tried for stealing clothes from an apartment. There is no evident reason why such cases could not be tried in the regularly constituted criminal courts.
The courts also violated the right of a defendant to be tried in his or her presence, which is one of the requirements of a fair trial under international law.12 Forty-two defendants, including thirteen who first received death sentences that were later commuted to life imprisonment, were tried in absentia, without any public showing that they had been formally notified of the charges against them.
After the first day of trials, the courts generally did appoint defense counsel for those without private counsel, and then adjourned the case to provide the newly appointed counsel an opportunity to consult with the defendant and prepare a defense.13 However, in several cases observed by Middle East Watch, the presiding judge appointed defense counsel and then immediately began vigorously cross-examining the defendant before the defendant had been given an opportunity to meet with counsel.
In the period preceding the martial-law trial, all defendants appeared to have been questioned by the prosecutor or police investigators without the opportunity to consult with counsel or notification of their right to do so. Although Kuwaiti domestic law does not specifically require legal counsel before arraignment, this law and practice violate Kuwait's duty under Protocol I to "afford the accused before and during his trial all necessary rights and means of defense."14
Kuwaiti lawyers who announced their intention to defend suspected collaborators were subjected to abuse and threats.15 Whether because of this intimidation or the unpopularity of the defendants,16 only a small number of lawyers were willing to offer their services. Despite the need for additional lawyers, the Kuwaiti government refused to allow lawyers from other countries with similar legal systems to come to Kuwait to defend suspects. The Arab Lawyers Union and the Jordanian Bar Association both tried to send lawyers to Kuwait but the Kuwaiti Embassies in Cairo and Amman refused to grant them visas.17
Under Kuwait's State Security Law, defendants tried before martial-law tribunals had no right of appeal. Their sole recourse was to a purely advisory panel of three "legal counselors" established to advise the crown prince in his capacity as martial law governor on whether to exercise his discretionary powers of clemency.18 The exercise of these powers was not guided by clear legal standards and as such could not substitute for a proper appeal, as required by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, review procedures did not allow defense counsel to present arguments on behalf of their clients. In the end, this clemency process yielded reaffirmations of every conviction passed _ all on the same day, before any attorney is known even to have submitted petitions for clemency to the Crown Prince. There is no evidence that the "legal counselors" were involved in the process. Most non-Kuwaiti citizens acquitted by martial law courts were later deported without judicial review of the deportation orders.19
Seventy-two cases involving over two hundred suspects who were charged by the martial-law prosecutor remained unresolved by the time martial law was lifted and martial-law courts disbanded on June 26. These cases were reviewed by the civilian public prosecutor's office to decide whether they should be brought to trial before criminal or state-security courts. By the end of August, there were around 330 Palestinians, Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Sudanese and Egyptians awaiting trial before state-security courts. During August, the public prosector's office assumed control over pretrial interrogation of state-security defendants through a special department, the State Security Prosecution Division (Niyabat Amn al-Dawla). Muhammed al-Bannai, a newly appointed chief public prosecutor, decided to reinvestigate all pending cases. Some of the 330 defendants were cleared, but the majority were deported administratively. By the end of November, only eighty defendants charged with state-security offenses were left to be tried before state-security courts. No trial date has been set.
In the past, the State Security Court suffered from due process problems similar to those of the martial-law courts. The court was staffed by part-time judges who did not have security of tenure; it usually met in secret; and it issued decisions, including death sentences, that were not subject to appeal.20
Following the international outcry over the martial-law trials, the Kuwaiti government in August issued Law 10 of 1991, amending Law 26 of 1969, which had established the State Security Court. Law 10 allowed the formation of more than one state-security court; it also established for the first time the right of appeal, although this right is more limited than from trials in traditional criminal courts. Under the new law, decisions by state-security courts can be appealed directly to the Court of Cassation. Under Law 40 of 1972, the Court of Cassation does not retry cases but examines the application of the law by the original court.21
Although the new law still allows the indefinite detention of state-security suspects, detention beyond the first twenty-one days was made subject to the approval of a state-security judge, who also reviews the need for detention once every forty-five days. Hearings on whether to extend detentions are not attended by detainees or their lawyers, a human rights observer told Middle East Watch. In another innovation, the new law allows the release of suspects, on bail or personal recognizance, at the discretion of the state-security prosecutor's office.
Between March and August, more than 1,500 residents of Kuwait were deported, including Bedoons, Iraqis and Palestinians. These expulsions violated several provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because of the inhumane manner in which they were carried out, because Kuwait expelled some who said they would face persecution in Iraq, and because some were stateless persons and should not have been expelled. Most of these expulsions took place without review by the ICRC. Since August, thousands have been deported after cursory hearings or were pressured to leave. Methods of pressure have varied from denial of employment to detention to beatings and death threats by State Security Investigative Police.
Most of those deported since liberation seem to have been individuals rounded up, in some cases with their families, as security risks, or as suspects in the campaign against collaborators with the Iraqi occupiers. Collaboration has been broadly defined to include almost any form of dealing with the Iraqi authorities, including keeping schools or shops open during the occupation. As noted above, the methods employed to prove such collaboration have been unreliable and legally unacceptable. Even those cleared of charges without trial or acquitted by martial-law courts have been subsequently deported.22 After martial law was lifted on June 26, administrative deportation instead of trials became the favored method used to deal with security suspects.
Expulsions started shortly after liberation. During March, several bus loads of foreign residents were summarily expelled. They were left on the Kuwait-Iraq border without food, water or travel documents. They bore marks of beatings and other torture. U.S. troops at the border told reporters that several bus loads of similarly tortured foreigners had been pushed across the border earlier in the month.23
In April and May, deportations were on a limited scale, but in June, large-scale deportations started on a regular basis. On June 8, a group of forty-six people _ including families with small children _ were bused to the Iraqi border. On June 11, a group of 115 Palestinians, Sudanese, Yemenis and Iraqis _ including twenty children _ were expelled to Iraqi territory, as observers from the U.N. and ICRC looked on. The deportees were given no food, water or sleeping mats; they were forced to walk about one mile in a dark, mine-infested area, without flashlights, to reach the Iraqi checkpoint.24 Other reports received by Middle East Watch, including one by a Deportation Prison official, confirmed that at least some of those deported were sent against their will.
The Deportation Prison, located in al-Shuwaikh, west of Kuwait City, has been perhaps the busiest of all Kuwaiti prisons in 1991. It is a maximum-security facility, with some of the worst conditions in the country. It has twelve solitary confinement cells and one large wing, which holds as many as six to seven hundred people. There are no beds or mattresses; prisoners are simply given a blanket each. There is only one refrigerator for the prison and no air conditioning. Fans hang from a high ceiling but do not seem to alleviate the unbearable summer heat and poor ventilation.
Because of the large number of people being held pending deportation _ averaging one thousand at any given moment _ the main Deportation Prison at al-Shuwaikh has been filled beyond capacity. Other facilities are reported to have been opened to handle the overflow, but no information is available on conditions there.
On June 9, the ICRC visited the Deportation Prison for the first time but was not allowed to interview any prisoners. Four hundred more people were deported on June 23. According to Kuwaiti authorities, most were Iraqis, but international observers told Middle East Watch that the deportees were actually Bedoons.25
On July 6, forty-one people accused of collaboration with the Iraqi occupation authorities were expelled. They were described as exhausted and bearing signs of torture.26 On July 9, around three hundred "Iraqis" were deported, including whole families.27 Some 350 more "Iraqis" and others were deported on July 13.28 Over one hundred more were expelled on July 20 and on August 3, another one hundred were deported.29
After criticism was voiced by international humanitarian organizations over these summary expulsions, Kuwait allowed the ICRC to interview would-be deportees and monitor the expulsions. Since Kuwaiti law allows administrative deportation, the government took full advantage of its discretionary powers to expel hundreds of Bedoons, Iraqis and Palestinians summarily. Under Kuwaiti law, administrative expulsion orders can in theory be contested before the Administrative Court, but in practice most deportees are not given an opportunity to file such complaints.
Even if complaints were filed, the chances of winning are limited because Article 16 of the Kuwaiti Foreign Residents Act (1968) gives wide discretionary powers to security officials to deport non-Kuwaiti nationals, even if still holding valid residence permits, if the alien has "no visible means of financial support," or if "the Minister of Interior believes that the deportation is mandated by public interest, public security or public morals." In the years 1980-90, before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government frequently invoked the public-interest clause of this law to deport summarily thousands of its residents, including Bedoons.
The Kuwaiti government terminated the contracts of all of its Bedoon and foreign employees retroactively from August 2, 1990. This decision meant that besides losing their jobs, Palestinians _ as well as other foreigners and Bedoons _ were not paid for the period since the Iraqi occupation, unlike Kuwaiti employees who were paid whether they had worked or not. Despite promises that they would be paid their severance pay _ generally one month's salary per year of employment _ many have yet to be compensated.30 To encourage Palestinian government employees to leave the country quickly, their severance pay is kept in escrow and not given to them until they complete their departure arrangements.
The retroactive termination of the contract of all foreign-national employees, as well as Bedoons, means that those who are not rehired are deportable under the Foreign Residents Act, on the grounds that they have no "visible means of financial support," (Article 16.2) or because foreign-national government employees, once their jobs are terminated, are required to leave the country (Article 15).
The Kuwaiti government in 1991 initiated a process termed Foreign Residents Re-registration, the stated objective of which is to "regulate and streamline all resident permits, and discover those with expired or forged permits, and those who came during the Iraqi occupation."31 The Kuwaiti government gave foreign residents until November to re-apply for residency in Kuwait. That period was later extended until the end of the year. After December 31, if it is not again extended, those who have not secured employment risk summary deportation.
The manner in which many of the expulsions have been carried out, as well as in some cases the deportations themselves, are in conflict with Kuwait's legal duties under international law and other international standards. Protected persons under Article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention are defined as "those who...find themselves, in the case of conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals."32 Accordingly, persons protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention and Protocol I would include Iraqi, Palestinian and Bedoon residents of Kuwait. Most Bedoons and Gazan Palestinians, by virtue of their stateless status, and Iraqis, by virtue of their status as nationals of the principal Kuwaiti opponent in the armed conflict, are clearly protected persons when in the hands of the Kuwaiti government.33 Other Palestinians, whether citizens of Jordan or deemed to be under the protection of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), are also protected persons since Kuwait has yet to resume normal diplomatic relations with either Jordan or the PLO.34 The ICRC has explicitly upheld the view that Palestinians in post-liberation Kuwait are protected persons.35
For protected persons whom Kuwait does not allow to settle in its territory but who cannot, for any reason, be repatriated, a third country must be found where they will be received and allowed to settle.36 Until such a country is found, refugees are entitled to the protection of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including the provision requiring Kuwait to ensure the means of subsistence, through paid employment or state allowance.37
Article 5 of the Fourth Geneva Convention excepts from protection an individual who is "definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the state."38 But exception is allowed under the Convention only for individuals suspected of being security risks, while Kuwaiti officials have blanketed whole communities with collective guilt. Throughout the year, they referred to the collaboration with the Iraqi occupiers of the Palestinian and Bedoon communities. On November 21, Shaikh Ali al-Sabah, minister of defense, after warning about fifth columnists, said, "[T]he attitudes of certain communities was disgraceful; they cooperated with the occupation army." On December 12, Shaikh Sa'ad, the crown prince, continuing on a theme he began before liberation, warned of dangers from fifth columnists who have to be flushed out.39
As a result of relentless persecution during the year, the Palestinian community, which numbered more than 350,000 before the Iraqi invasion, was reduced to 80,000 by the beginning of November.40 Around 23,000 of these are Gazans carrying Egyptian travel documents that do not entitle them to settle anywhere.
During the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, around 180,000 Palestinians left Kuwait to avoid the hardships of occupation and war. In many cases, they left behind their homes and property accumulated over decades of residence in Kuwait. Most went to Jordan but some had no country in which they were entitled to reside. After liberation, with very few exceptions, Kuwait has refused to allow any of them to return. The Kuwaiti government has failed to appoint guardians to protect absentee property and, on July 17, the Kuwaiti cabinet approved regulations allowing Kuwaiti landlords to remove furniture and other items from rented premises previously occupied by foreigners who are not being allowed to return.41
The other community targeted for persecution is the Bedoon, the long-term residents of Kuwait who have been denied Kuwaiti citizenship. They numbered more than 250,000 at the time of the Iraqi invasion, according to official figures. The persecution of the Bedoons, for a long time the undocumented underclass of Kuwait, picked up in 1986 when the government adopted a series of draconian measures to force them to leave the country. Mass dismissal from government jobs, large-scale deportation and restrictive bureaucratic measures were the tools of this policy. Other restrictions included Ministry of Interior Regulation No. 35 of 1987, which banned the issuing or renewing of driver licenses to Bedoons, and Interior Ministry Regulation 177 of 1986, which severely restricted their foreign travel.
After liberation, this community was persecuted because certain of its members were suspected of collaboration with the Iraqi occupiers. Thousands were rounded up and most were thrown across the border to Iraq.
International standards clearly prohibit the expulsion of stateless Bedoons who have lived in Kuwait all their lives.42 The Kuwaiti courts in the past also rejected the government's attempts to treat Bedoons as foreigners in the application of the Foreign Residents Act of 1968, and recognized the special status to which the Bedoons were entitled.
All Bedoon government employees were dismissed retroactively from August 2, 1990, and few have been rehired. Like Palestinian children, Bedoon children were barred from enrolling in public schools after liberation. Most Bedoons cannot afford to send their children to private schools, especially after the government of Kuwait discontinued its pre-invasion fifty percent tuition subsidy.
As the Kuwaiti government started restructuring its armed forces, whose rank and file used to be predominantly Bedoon, it started rehiring Bedoons on a limited scale. In October, the government announced that it would pay private school tuition for children of Bedoons rehired by the armed forces. In another good-will gesture, the government announced that it would pay tuition fees for Bedoon children of Kuwaiti mothers.
There are about 3,700 persons, mostly Bedoon, who have registered with the ICRC and are stranded in Iraq. Kuwait has so far, with few exceptions, refused to allow these people to return to Kuwait. They registered "on the basis of documents certifying that they had been residents of Kuwait before the war," according to an ICRC official.43 The names of hundreds of Bedoons were initially submitted to the ICRC by the Kuwaiti government as having been detained by Iraqi occupying forces and taken to Iraq during the occupation. At the time Kuwait demanded their release, but later official lists dropped the names of most Bedoons not affiliated with the Kuwaiti military or police.44
Another group of Bedoons refused admission into Kuwait were those stranded at a displaced persons camp in the middle of the desert at the Abdali border post. The camp population fluctuated, reaching a maximum of near five thousand in late May, including families with small infants. Harsh conditions at the camp and Kuwait's refusal to let its residents enter the country led to a sharp decline in the camp population as most of them decided to seek a less forbidding waiting place in war-ravaged Iraq while the Kuwaiti government decided their fate.
In early October, the Kuwaiti government allowed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to supervise the resettlement of those still at the Abdali camp. Close to six hundred were allowed into Kuwait, and the remaining seventy were sent to other countries of their choice.
After the end of the Iran-Iraq war in the summer of 1988, calls for restoration of the Kuwaiti National Assembly intensified. When the Assembly was dissolved on July 3, 1986, the government cited the war as one justification, but then failed to restore democracy when the war ended.45 At the same time as the National Assembly was dissolved, the press in Kuwait was put under strict censorship, and public assembly of more than five people was banned. These restrains remained in place when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
After the Iraqi invasion, Kuwaitis _ now dispersed in many countries _ continued to call for a restoration of formal methods of dialogue between the Kuwaiti government and its people. Former members of the National Assembly and others called on the emir to reconvene the Assembly in exile and form a national unity government. In response, the government convened the Kuwaiti Popular Conference in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, in mid-October 1990. A compromise was struck. It was decided that while restoration of the National Assembly in exile was not a practical option, constitutional rule would be restored after liberation and, until then, the government would hold formal consultations with Kuwaiti community leaders through the Supreme Advisory Council that was formed shortly after the conference. Headed by the crown prince, it included in its membership a number of opposition leaders. Though never explicitly stated, it was understood that soon after liberation, the 1962 Constitution would be fully restored and the National Assembly would be reconvened.
After the liberation of Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government avoided for over three months setting a date for new elections, despite persistent opposition demands that it do so. All opposition factions cited this delay in their refusal to join the new cabinet formed on April 20 and composed entirely of al-Sabah family members and close allies. As before the Iraqi invasion, al-Sabah family members were appointed to most of the key positions.
On June 2, when the emir announced that new elections for the National Assembly were to be held in October 1992, he also announced the revival of the advisory National Council, the nemesis of the constitutional movement. Until these elections are held, the government, dominated by the royal family, continues to rule by decree, as it has done since July 1986.
The principal Kuwaiti opposition since liberation has been composed of seven factions that include secular, Sunni and Shi`a religious groups.46 An eighth group, the newly formed August 2 Movement of retired military officers, has also appeared on the scene. The seven principal factions articulated the following demands in a number of joint statements:
o Restoration of the National Assembly through early elections to be held by the beginning of 1992.
o An end to restrictions on free speech and assembly, to allow candidates to campaign.
o Repeal of the 1986 censorship law to enable all candidates to have a fair chance to express their views.
o Dissolution of the National Council.
In a statement issued on May 15, 1991, the opposition groups criticized the government's human rights practices. They called for the release of all detainees held without charge, permission for relatives and defense lawyers to meet with prisoners, and an increased role for civilian prosecutors at police stations. They also called for open trials attended by international observers as well as judicial investigations into charges of human rights violations committed by security forces.
Considering the important decisions to be made in the twenty months between February 1991 and October 1992, including key decisions on restructuring Kuwaiti society, the opposition found the delay in holding the elections inexcusable. It also pointed out that the government would have an unfair advantage during the campaign since public assembly is still banned and expression severely restricted.
Kuwaiti apprehension about the government's intentions was fueled by two acts of violence directed at the opposition. On February 28, two days after liberation, an assailant shot prominent opposition leader Hamad al-Jau'an at his home in Kuwait City. The bullet hit his spinal column, paralyzing him. Immediately following the shooting, the Kuwaiti government announced that it had arrested three foreign residents, but it never formally charged them with the shooting. Al-Jau'an himself has emphatically said that his lone attacker was a Kuwaiti. His friends have publicly accused a militia loyal to members of the Sabah family of being behind the shooting. As a member of the National Assembly in 1985, al-Jau'an had led the questioning of a member of the ruling family, Minister of Justice Shaikh Selaiman De'aij al-Sabah, that led to his resignation amid allegations of corruption.
Another suspicious shooting of a government critic came on March 7, nine days after liberation. Hussein al-Bannay, a thirty-eight-year old Kuwaiti man, was shot dead during a political discussion in a diwaniyya when a gunman opened fire. While the assailant, who was described as a member of the armed forces or one of their militia allies, was immediately apprehended, he has not been formally charged or brought to trial. When questioned about the incident, Kuwaiti officials told Middle East Watch that the shooting was accidental, an assertion which was contested by opposition figures contacted by Middle East Watch.
The Kuwaiti government has shown little tolerance for criticism of its officials. In at least two cases, defendants faced trials before the martial-law tribunals for their exercise of free speech. Farraj Nassar al-Rekaibi, a former Kuwaiti soldier and a Bedoon who became a hero for his anti-Iraqi resistance activities, was charged by the Kuwaiti government with "resisting the authorities and threatening the peace by spreading rumors" because of his public criticism of government decisions. He was detained for three months before being acquitted on June 3.47 Another defendant, Hamza Abdel Fattah Ahmed, a Palestinian, was tried and convicted of "insulting the person of the emir."
When prominent opposition leaders met on June 2 with Edward Gnehm, the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, the official Kuwaiti government newspaper Sawt al-Kuwait bitterly criticized the meeting. In a June 7 editorial, the paper ridiculed the opposition leaders for seeking help from foreign embassies and referred to the U.S. ambassador as the "High Commissioner," a title used by Great Britain for its colonial representatives. The implication was that the opposition and the ambassador had compromised Kuwait's independence. The meeting followed the failure of negotiations between the government and the opposition on elections.
Opposition leaders also wanted a positive U.S. influence that would counterbalance the anti-democratic pressures from Saudi Arabia, which had contributed to the Kuwaiti government's decision to suspend parliamentary life in 1986 and later advised Kuwait to delay its resumption. Semi-official Saudi newspapers, one of which also criticized the meeting between the Kuwaiti opposition and the U.S. ambassador, have regularly attacked the Kuwaiti pro-democracy movement, claiming at one point that Kuwaitis did not genuinely desire a restoration of democracy.
On December 10, for the first time in Kuwait's history, the Kuwaiti Democratic Forum was openly declared a political party, challenging the traditional ban on political parties in Kuwait. The new party announced publicly the names of its twenty-one-member executive committee, which chose from among its members a seven-member secretariat headed by Abdalla al-Nibari, a veteran politician and former National Assembly member. The new party vowed to start pressing for free speech and assembly in preparation for the October 1992 elections. The government has had no public reaction to the announcement.
Kuwait still operates under strict censorship rules that were tightened in a July 1986 decree mandating prior censorship of all Kuwaiti publications. Daily newspapers have censors from the Ministry of Information in their offices who have to approve every item before the newspaper is allowed to publish. Repeal of this system of censorship, which was retained after Kuwait's liberation, has been a key demand of journalists and the political opposition. A meeting in October between the crown prince and Kuwaiti newspaper editors during which the subject was raised has yet to produce any positive results.
In addition to censorship of the print media, the Kuwaiti government owns and operates the television and radio stations, plus a number of newspapers and magazines, all of which express only the government's views and regularly attack its critics. The only local sources of independent information are the privately owned newspapers that resumed publication during the summer but remain subject to clearance by Ministry of Information censors.48
Ministry of Information censors are very strict about what is allowed to appear in print. For example, on December 10, a government censor refused to allow the publication of a statement by the Kuwaiti Association to Defend War Victims commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because it implied criticism of the government.
February 26, a daily newspaper that began publication a week after liberation and received government subsidies, was shut down less than a month later. The newspaper carefully avoided sensitive political issues but nevertheless criticized the slow pace of restoration of basic services. In its place, a more loyalist daily, al-Fajr al-Jadid (The New Dawn), was started, also with government financial support. The new publication makes no pretence of independence. In addition, the government owns and operates the daily Sawt al-Kuwait, published in London and printed by satellite in several countries; every issue extols the virtues of the government and the royal family and often lashes out at the opposition. The opposition points out that since these publications are either wholly or partly financed with public funds, they should reflect a wider spectrum of views, especially in the coming election campaign period.
Kuwait's restrictions extend to foreign reporters. Immediately after the war ended, Kuwait encouraged hundreds of reporters to visit. One month after liberation, probably because of the highly unfavorable press that Kuwait was receiving at the time, the government started restricting access to Kuwait. For the month of April, the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington told reporters that it was not issuing any visas. The stated reason was that there was not sufficient food or other supplies in Kuwait. This total ban was relaxed in early May as Kuwait initiated a procedure _ still in effect _ that limited the number of reporters who may be granted visas. Under this procedure, a Kuwaiti sponsor for the applicant is required. In effect, this meant that reporters must be invited by the government itself to obtain a visa.
Once in Kuwait, there have been reports of interference with journalists' work. In late July, an ABC crew filming the Foreign Re-registration Office was stopped by an officer who briefly detained one of the crew, demanded to see a permit that allowed filming, and then confiscated the film to view its contents. In early August, a Dutch film crew was followed by State Security Investigative Police while visiting a Palestinian neighborhood. A family interviewed by the film makers later received threats and one of its members, who had been arrested before and tortured, was redetained and questioned about the interview.
Freedom of expression is restricted outside of the press as well. When opposition leaders tried to hold a press conference on April 22 to voice their views on the newly formed cabinet, government forces disrupted the event and forcibly dispersed those who had gathered. On May 10 and 11, five members of the Islamic Constitutional Movement _ an opposition group _ were arrested at Kuwait International Airport because they carried unauthorized signs welcoming Kuwaitis returning from exile. In his comments on the incident, Minister of Interior Shaikh Ahmed Humood al-Sabah said that the men arrested had violated regulations banning the use of unlicensed signs.
Agreements by the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have further restricted freedom of expression by banning from all GCC countries publications that are critical of the leader of any member state.49 On December 14, Abdel Latif Mahmoud al-Mahmoud, a Bahraini professor, was arrested at Bahrain Airport upon his return home from a visit to Kuwait. The reason for his arrest, according to a Bahraini official, was that he had given a lecture in Kuwait deemed "contrary to the laws of the land which require people to be respectful to the heads of state in the area."50 It appeared that the official was referring to a December 9 lecture that al-Mahmoud delivered at the University of Kuwait. Entitled "The role of popular participation in political decision-making and the future of democracy in the region," the lecture was critical of the undemocratic nature of the traditional governments of GCC member states.
The Right to Monitor
Kuwait has acceded to only a few key international humanitarian treaties, most notably the four Geneva Conventions and their two additional protocols. Kuwait is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or other major human rights instruments relating to refugees and stateless persons.
Since liberation, the Kuwaiti government has refused to legalize the Kuwaiti Association to Defend War Victims. The Association was formed in March 1991 to monitor observance of human rights and provide assistance to families of detainees. Its founders articulated two key goals: documentation of human rights violations committed by the Iraqi occupying forces, and registration of all those who disappeared during the Iraqi occupation. The Association then undertook two additional tasks: to monitor Kuwait's observance of human rights and to provide relief to detainees and their families. The Association in Kuwait and was told in July to cease its operations, but as of December the government had not moved to forcibly close it down. It continues to operate from a vacant, government-owned school.
Although the International Committee of the Red Cross was allowed in Kuwait immediately after liberation, it was not allowed to visit any places of detention for several weeks. A number of prisons were not accessible to the ICRC until months later. By early December, the ICRC is known to have had access to all places of detention but still had not been permitted to see all detainees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was also initially barred from opening an office in Kuwait, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) _ the U.N. agency charged with Palestinian welfare _ has not been allowed to operate.
During the Iraqi occupation, the Kuwaiti government-in-exile solicited the help of international human rights organizations in monitoring violations committed by Iraqi forces in Kuwait. After liberation, the government encouraged these organizations to visit Kuwait to gain proof of Iraq's gross abuses. But when these organizations also condemned abuses then being committed by Kuwaiti forces, the Kuwaiti authorities restricted access to the country. For six weeks, in April and May, the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington refused to issue visas to representatives from Middle East Watch and the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Thereafter, international human rights organizations obtained access to Kuwait without difficulty.
One important factor in the explosion of abuse immediately following the liberation of Kuwait was the allies' failure to assign troops in appreciable numbers to patrol Kuwait City and deter abuses, despite the presence of thousands of troops in the country. Although violent abuses were rampant and, in the initial days following liberation, the Kuwaiti government showed no sign of an ability or intention to stop the violence, the allies made little effort to deploy and authorize troops to intervene to stop abuse. Potential trouble spots in Kuwait City, such as detention facilities and neighborhoods that had been targeted by returning Kuwaitis seeking revenge, should have been watched closely. Instead, applying rigid notions of sovereignty that bore little relation to the Kuwaiti reality at the time, the allies washed their hands of the problem, ignoring their central role days earlier in returning the Kuwaiti government to power. The allies' passivity, despite the obligation of all parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions "to ensure respect for the...Convention in all circumstances,"51 stood in sharp contrast to their ongoing active role in providing security against possible renewed aggression from Iraq and in helping to rebuild Kuwait's infrastructure.52
The role that allied forces might have played in curbing abuse was revealed by several witnesses interviewed by Middle East Watch, who described how U.S. troops who happened to have been present stopped Kuwaiti forces from abusing detainees. On other occasions, however, U.S. forces were less effective in combatting abuse, either because of their small numbers in the immediate vicinity or because of their limited authority and mandate. In one case reported to Middle East Watch, U.S. troops witnessing the beating of prisoners did nothing. In another case reported by The Independent of London, U.S. troops seemed to condone the beating of a Palestinian youth and to be bothered only by the presence of reporters.53
Upon liberation of Kuwait, the U.S. army deployed 3,500 troops known as Task Force Freedom. They included Special Forces who helped Kuwaiti security forces take over police stations and man roadblocks.54 Special Forces were clearly visible in Kuwait throughout the first month after liberation but their mandate appeared to be a limited one. U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Ron Smith told The Guardian of London after he visited a number of detention centers where prisoners were reportedly being mistreated, "All I can do is ask the questions and hope that it has an effect."55 Another report by The Independent quoted a U.S. military source as saying:
Our people on the ground didn't understand what their role was. Some of our senior officers were not reporting things up the channel. We would find that our Special Forces officers based in Kuwaiti police stations would know people were being tortured there but couldn't prove it. We would have American officers who would hear someone screaming but who couldn't say the man was being tortured because he wasn't witnessing it. So they would not report to us.56
The need to put an end to human rights violations committed by Iraq in Kuwait was one of the stated reasons that the U.S. Administration went to war against Iraq. In rallying support to wage war against Saddam, President Bush on numerous occasions condemned Iraqi atrocities. In his January 16 speech announcing the launching of Desert Storm, he stated that he could not wait any longer because Saddam Hussein had "subjected the people of Kuwait to unspeakable atrocities, and among those maimed and murdered, innocent children." In the same speech the President also said, "The terrible crimes and tortures committed by Saddam's henchmen against the innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all." In his February 27 speech declaring that "Kuwait is liberated," President Bush said, "This is a victory for the United Nations, for all mankind, for the rule of law, and for what is right."
Since the liberation of Kuwait, however, U.S. senior officials have shied away from publicly criticizing the serious human rights violations committed by Kuwaiti authorities against foreign and Bedoon residents. This reticence comes despite the enormous respect that most Kuwaitis have for the United States as the leading member of the alliance responsible for liberating their country. Moreover, many Kuwaitis believe that they require an ongoing U.S. military presence to ward off a perceived continuing Iraqi threat.57
During a June 12 hearing, Senator Ernest Hollings commented to Secretary of State James Baker: "Down in Kuwait...the torture and rape of Saddam continues under the Emir," noting that the proclaimed new international order "looks like...a new world disorder." Secretary Baker responded by emphasizing that the war was fought only to combat Iraqi aggression, suggesting that it was not waged to establish respect for human rights in Kuwait: "What we did...was to mobilize the international community to make it clear that unprovoked aggression by a big country against a little one isn't going to stand up. And we did it....We destroyed Iraq's military capabilities _ Iraq, which constituted the greatest threat to the security of the Persian Gulf, and indeed the greatest threat to Israel's security _ gone; military threat is destroyed."58 Kuwait "may not be the optimum type of regime," the secretary explained. Although "[i]t does not follow our standards, and it is not a full-fledged democracy," he praised it for its announcement that elections would be held, and its as yet unacted-upon willingness to enfranchise women.59 Most Kuwaitis, however, believe that the October 1992 date that the Kuwaiti government has set for elections is too distant, considering the important decisions that Kuwait must make in the interim. The delay also violates an understanding between the government and the opposition reached during the Iraqi occupation to hold early elections.
On granting women the right to vote, the Kuwaiti government has been even less forthcoming. The only public announcement made by Kuwaiti officials on this issue has been the emir's address to the nation on April 8, 1991, when he said that "the subject of participation of women in parliamentary life will be studied to ensure that women carry out their full role in the building of society and its progress."60 Later statements by Kuwaiti officials, such as the July 9 addresses by the emir and the crown prince to the first session of the National Council, seemed to further downplay the issue.61 In an August National Council meeting attended by the crown prince, a motion to discuss granting women the right to vote was defeated in favor of another motion to postpone the discussion indefinitely.
On May 20, 1991, one day after the beginning of martial-law trials in Kuwait, most of the State Department briefing was spent defending the summary proceedings. Despite universally expressed outrage at the travesty of the previous day's trials, spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler, after having been briefed by Ambassador Gnehm, dwelled on the few positive aspects of the trials: They had been open, counsel had been present (though largely prevented from playing any meaningful role) and international observers had been in attendance. She did not see fit to note the other grave deficiencies, even after they were raised by reporters: the lack of a right to appeal, to consult a lawyer, to examine evidence prior to trial, to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, or to call defense witnesses. None of these concerns had been raised with the Kuwaiti government, she indicated. Moreover, she was unaware that many of the defendants had been tortured, despite extensive documentation of such torture by human rights organizations and by U.S. Embassy staff in Kuwait. The only criticism she voiced, referring to one of the cases summarily resolved the day before, was that "15 years for wearing a T-shirt is a little steep."
When Kuwait's crown prince decided to commute the death sentences, the State Department praised the move as "evidence that death sentences are given careful review."62 This comment came despite the crown prince's parallel decision to change all the death sentences to life imprisonment and to ratify unchanged more than one hundred other harsh sentences passed following proceedings lacking the minimum acceptable standards of a fair trial _ all without any opportunity for defense counsel to be heard.
After Kuwait expelled 115 of its residents during the night of June 11, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher refused to comment, despite repeated questions from the press.63 Anonymous State Department officials let it be known that they did not believe the expulsions violated the Geneva Conventions,64 even though, as noted above, the deportees, including twenty children, were dumped by Kuwaiti military officers on the border with no food or water and forced to walk a mile in darkness, through a mine-infested area, toward a nation (Iraq) where many justifiably feared persecution65 _ all in violation of specific provisions of the Geneva Conventions.
The Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States told a reporter that President Bush had said to him during a visit to the White House, "We didn't fight this war for democracy or those trials. Don't be intimidated by what's going on."66 The White House did not contradict this statement. The president himself said later at a July 1 press conference in response to a question about post-war "atrocities" in Kuwait: "The war wasn't fought about democracy in Kuwait. The war was fought about aggression against Kuwait." He said that he understood the rage Kuwaitis felt, recalled what had happened in France after the Second World War when "the people that were liberated did not take kindly to those that had sold out to the Nazis," and then added, "I think we're expecting a little much if we're asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there, that had brutalized families there and things of that nature."67 It is difficult to imagine a more forceful apology for abuse.68
Criticisms of the human rights situation in Kuwait have not been wholly lacking in official U.S. statements. Ambassador Gnehm has expressed public concern, most notably in a June 6 speech to the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce, in which he said: "[T]hose who broke Kuwaiti laws and were parties to Iraqi criminal actions should be prosecuted fairly and fully under the law. But the innocent should not become new victims."69 Another exception was a November 20 statement by Edward Djerejian, the newly appointed assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs. He told the House Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East that the United States was pressing countries in the region, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to move ahead with democratic reform. However, such occasional and welcome statements have been substantially overshadowed by the signals sent by more senior Administration officials, including President Bush and Secretary Baker, that ending human rights abuses in Kuwait is not a primary U.S. concern.
The Administration's failure to provide a strong voice in defense of human rights in Kuwait is even less excusable in light of the substantial, ongoing U.S. presence in the country. Although most of the U.S. forces were withdrawn from Kuwait by the end of May, leaving only about 1,500 regular troops in Kuwait itself by early December, the U.S. commitment to the defense of Kuwait is not in question.70 There are several hundred U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel involved in various reconstruction projects in Kuwait, and the United States still maintains a sizable military presence in the Gulf, including over 16,000 Navy, 11,000 Army and 5,000 Air Force personnel. The September 20 military agreement signed in Washington by the two countries' defense ministers formalized the U.S.-Kuwait military alliance. This ten-year pact provides for U.S. Navy access to Kuwaiti ports and the prepositioning of military equipment. It also regulates the planned frequent joint military maneuvers.71 According to Kuwait's Defense Ministry officials, who said that not all treaty clauses have been made public, the agreement calls for close U.S. involvement in developing the Kuwaiti armed forces, advising Kuwait on defense matters, training Kuwaiti officers in the United States, and supplying the Kuwaiti military with necessary hardware.
Since signing the defense pact, the two countries have held a number of high-profile live-fire joint exercises that emphasized the continued presence of U.S. firepower, according to one expert.72 Between October 23 and 24, joint exercises involving land forces were held in al-Rawdhatain in northern Kuwait. Joint U.S.-Kuwaiti maneuvers with live ammunition were again conducted for over six weeks starting on November 6 involving the land, sea and air forces of both countries.73
Brigadier Ali al-Mumin, the Kuwaiti commander of the joint exercises, said that the Kuwaiti armed forces would not be in a position to enter combat on their own for the foreseeable future. Until it is able to augment significantly its ten-thousand-strong army, Kuwait would rely for its defense on the U.S. military and other Gulf forces. To provide for this defense, the two Kuwaiti air bases (Ali al-Salem and Ahmed al-Jaber) would be "inter-operable" with U.S. forces as part of future defense plans.74 These bases are being upgraded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of $350 million, which will be paid by Kuwait.75
On September 20, the Kuwaiti Investment Authority, a government fund, signed a $2 billion export credit agreement with the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The agreement, the first of its kind, would extend credit to American companies signing reconstruction contracts with the Kuwaiti government.76
In contrast to the Administration's public silence on human rights abuses in Kuwait, a significant number of members of the U.S. Congress voiced their criticism of Kuwait's human rights violations in letters to the Kuwaiti government and to the Administration:
o On April 19, thirty-five representatives sent a letter to President Bush outlining human rights violations in Kuwait and asking for the president's assistance "because United States civil affairs officers are responsible for maintaining public security in Kuwait." They pointed out that "the U.S. has a direct role to play in ensuring that human rights abuses in Kuwait cease immediately."
o On July 16, sixteen senators sent a letter to the emir calling for fair trials and a limit on expulsions.
o On September 26, twenty-three senators sent a letter to the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States expressing their "continuing concern about human rights Kuwait." They also called upon the Kuwaiti government "to take steps to end abuses and prosecute those responsible."
o On November 14, twenty-one senators sent a letter to President Bush urging him to issue an executive order providing temporary immigration relief for several hundred families living in the United States who had been airlifted from Kuwait during the Gulf crisis. The president issued the order benefiting primarily Palestinian families with U.S.-born small children whose return to Kuwait was barred by the Kuwaiti government. As mentioned above, Kuwait has denied reentry to the 180,000 Palestinians who left Kuwait during the crisis.
The Work of Middle East Watch
During the first two months of the year, Middle East Watch continued to monitor human rights abuses by the Iraqi occupying forces in Kuwait. It also continued its monitoring of Kuwait's constitutional movement. On January 12, Middle East Watch testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on four issues on which the Committee had requested testimony: human rights conditions in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, human rights conditions in Kuwait before the invasion, human rights conditions in Iraq, and U.S. human rights policy in the wake of the invasion. Middle East Watch also provided information to the Committee on the Kuwaiti constitutional movement and voiced concern about the future of democratic reform in Kuwait in light of the Kuwaiti government-in-exile's reluctance to make firm promises about its post-liberation plans.
On March 7, Middle East Watch issued a newsletter, "POWs, Wounded and Killed Soldiers," in which it called on Iraq to release all Kuwaiti detainees captured during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. It also cautioned against reprisal killings or mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners in allied hands, including those in Kuwait.
During March, Middle East Watch sent a mission to Kuwait to investigate human rights abuses. The mission investigated extrajudicial killings and detention conditions. It also interviewed scores of victims of Iraqi abuse. While in Kuwait, Middle East Watch met with Kuwaiti, American, British and Palestinian officials and coordinated its activities with international humanitarian organizations present in Kuwait at the time.
On March 20, Middle East Watch held a press conference in Kuwait on post-liberation human rights violations. It chose to publicize its preliminary findings because of the urgency of the situation and the need to put an immediate stop to the flagrant abuses then being committed. Middle East Watch also publicized its findings through extensive interviews given to the international media in Kuwait. When the mission returned to the United States, Middle East Watch met with Administration officials to convey its findings and solicit their help in putting an end to Kuwaiti abuses.
In late May and early June, Middle East Watch sent another mission to Kuwait to monitor martial-law trials and update the earlier findings. Its representatives attended a number of key trials and helped in raising international concern regarding the lack of fairness of those proceedings. Their investigation of detention conditions and extrajudicial killings led to the discovery of mass graves in which fifty-four unidentified bodies were buried in al-Rigga cemetery.
On June 11, Middle East Watch presented its findings regarding Kuwait before a joint meeting of the House Subcommittees on Europe and the Middle East and on Human Rights and International Organizations. In addition to information about extrajudicial killings and torture in Kuwaiti prisons, the testimony discussed the official Kuwaiti reluctance to make progress toward restoring democratic rule and freedom of speech.
On June 18, Middle East Watch sent a letter to the emir of Kuwait, later released to the press, detailing the shortcomings of the martial-law trials and deploring the harsh sentences passed by the courts based on dubious evidence. On June 26, the day that martial law was lifted, Middle East Watch issued a statement welcoming the disbanding of the martial-law courts and the commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment. However, the statement criticized the administrative review of martial-court judgments that had ratified all sentences other than the death penalty.
On September 11, Middle East Watch released a report, A Victory Turned Sour: Human Rights in Kuwait Since Liberation, which documented human rights violations committed by Kuwaiti forces. In addition to documenting violent abuses of the post-liberation period, the report drew attention to Kuwait's policy of employment discrimination and summary expulsion of its Palestinian and Bedoon residents. A formal request by Middle East Watch to Kuwaiti authorities to discuss its findings in this report was not answered.
On October 23, Middle East Watch issued a newsletter, "Nowhere to Go: the Tragedy of Palestinians in Kuwait," in which it reiterated its concerns regarding Kuwait's harassment of Gazan Palestinians carrying Egyptian travel documents. It pointed to Kuwait's obligation under the Fourth Geneva Convention not to expel these stateless persons.
Throughout the year, Middle East Watch worked with congressional offices attempting to focus the attention of the U.S. Administration and the Kuwaiti government on the human rights violations committed by the Kuwaiti government.
Middle East Watch also has worked with refugee-support groups and lawyers representing hundreds of asylum seekers from among former residents of Kuwait stranded in the United States, Canada and Europe as a result of Kuwait's refusal to permit their return.
Articles by Middle East Watch staff and committee members on human rights in Kuwait appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Middle East Report and The Journal of Palestine Studies. Interviews were also given on major American and foreign radio and television programs. Middle East Watch reports on Kuwait received extensive media coverage worldwide.
For discussion of abuses committed during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in January and February, 1990, see the chapter on Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait.
During a violent campaign against suspected collaborators, an April 8 speech by the emir _ his first since returning from exile _ called for cleansing Kuwait of a "fifth column of Saddam's cohorts." This theme was repeated by the crown prince in his speech before the National Council on July 9 and in an interview on December 12. It was also echoed by Shaikh Ali al-Sabah, minister of defense, on July 5 and November 21.
Later, the Juvenile Detention Facility was used occasionally as a temporary holding facility for "infiltrators" _ people captured while trying to enter Kuwait illegally. Despite its name, this prison was used for detainees of all ages.
From the prosecutor's presentation in the case of Omar Essayed Muhammed Omar, on June 13.
Shyam Bhatia, "Kuwaitis pave the way for public hangings," The Observer (London), April 22, 1991.
The Observer (London), April 14, 1991. In one case mentioned in the article, policemen in a police station refused to register the complaint of a woman raped by two uniformed men who had come into her home to "examine her papers."
From the text of the speech as distributed by the Kuwaiti News Agency and published in Sawt al-Kuwait, July 10, 1991.
Shaikh Ahmed Humoud al-Jaber al-Sabah, minister of interior, told The New York Times (July 7, 1991) that "the biggest internal security threat" is the presence of "Iraqi agents" suspected of hiding in Kuwait. He said that he is making a special effort to round up Iraqi "agents," and that one or two were being arrested almost every day.
An older brother, Samir, a U.S. citizen who had lived in Kuwait most of his life, told Middle East Watch that "all the charges were false: they never joined any Palestinian organization and none of them ever possessed weapons or knows how to use them." He said that a Kuwaiti business partner, who was ready to testify on their behalf, was never allowed to address the court.
Ibtissam Bertu Selaiman al-Dakhil, a Kuwaiti citizen, was sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) in the al-Nida' case.
For example, on May 23, Minister of Justice Ghazi Obaid al-Sammar told the official Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA): "The accused are accorded fair trials, with the right of legal defense respected with the help of lawyers. Trials are being conducted in public, with the press and other media present, unless the courts decide to hold secret sessions for the purposes of public order." On May 22, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Dhari Abdalla al-Othman told KUNA, "Kuwait is diligent in applying the rule of law and its absolute belief in human rights, regardless of nationality, gender or beliefs." By contrast, despite the clear constitutional presumption of innocence in Article 34 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, some Kuwaiti officials apparently believed that their laws "do not call for customs like...presumption of innocence until guilt is proven." (John H. Cushman, "Courts Watched Closely as Kuwait Resumes Trials," The New York Times, June 1, 1991.) Although this view contradicted the public stand of the Kuwaiti government, it more accurately reflected the practice of security officers after liberation, who usually assumed the guilt of suspects and condoned torture to extract confessions to prove that guilt.
Protocol I, Art. 75; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant), Art. 14.
On the first day, May 19, trials proceeded and ended before counsel for several defendants had an opportunity to consult with their clients.
Protocol I, Art. 75; see also Covenant, Art. 14.
See, e.g., Lee Hockstader, "Justice Goes on Trial in Kuwait," The Washington Post, April 3, 1991.
U.S. Army reservist Lieutenant Colonel Edward McCarty, a New York State judge who was a legal adviser to the U.S. Combined Civil Affairs Task Force, which advised the Kuwaiti government on legal matters, told The Washington Post (April 3, 1991) that in terms of community reactions to the trials, "this is a child molestation murder case times hundreds."
Middle East Watch interview with Farouk Abu-Issa, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Arab Lawyers Union, June 5, 1991; Middle East Watch interview with Asma Khader, member of the executive committee of the Jordanian Bar Association, June 3, 1991. The Arab Lawyers Union is a Cairo-based federation of the national bar associations of most Arab countries, including Kuwait.
Under Article 75 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, there is also an opportunity for a discretionary pardon by the emir.
According to Minister of Justice Ghazi Obaid al-Sammar "The Minister of Interior has discretionary authority to deport people who are suspect or whose presence constitutes a danger.... [T]hose who have been acquitted will be deported according to this procedure." Sawt al-Kuwait, June 26, 1991.
The State Security Court in the past condemned defendants to death, but the death penalty was never carried out. Although most State Security Court sessions were held in camera, the opening and closing sessions were sometimes open to the press and other outside observers.
Ordinary crimes can be appealed before the Appeals Court, the decisions of which can then be appealed to the Court of Cassation. Article 8 of Law 10 is ambiguous on whether state security court judgments are to be appealed before a special cassation court or before the already constituted Court of Cassation. The official working paper accompanying the new law, however, refers to the Court of Cassation as the court before which state security cases are to be appealed.
Nahess al-Enezy, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, told a government newspaper that those acquitted would be deported. "Just because they were acquitted does not mean they are not still suspect. It only means that there was not enough evidence for their guilt," he explained. (Sawt al-Kuwait, June 27, 1991.) Another spokesman for the Ministry of Justice told Middle East Watch on July 6 that the Public Prosecutor's Office (in the Justice Ministry) had ordered the release of those acquitted but that the minister of interior still had discretionary authority to deport them and keep them in jail pending their deportation.
William Branigin and Nora Boustany, "Rights Officials: Kuwaiti Soldiers Commit Abuses: Arrests, Beatings, Deportations of Palestinians, Others Continue," The Washington Post, March 17, 1991; Bob Drogin, "Kuwaiti Reprisal Killings Continue," The Los Angeles Times, March 18, 1991.
John Arundel, "Kuwait Expels Foreigners Across Border Into Iraq," The Washington Post, June 12, 1991.
Sawt al-Kuwait, June 26, 1991; Middle East Watch interview, July 15, 1991.
Agence France-Presse, July 7, 1991; "Koweit: Nouvelle vague d'expulsions," Le Monde, July 11, 1991.
Associated Press, July 9, 1991; al-Hayat, July 10, 1991. "Koweit: Nouvelle vague d'expulsions," Le Monde, July 11, 1991, reported that the Kuwaiti government authorized the ICRC for the first time to meet with this group of deportees before they were expelled.
Reuters, July 15, 1991.
Reuters, August 5, 1991. Iraq put the number of those expelled on August 3 at 247, listing them as comprising forty Iraqis, eighty-eight Jordanians and 119 Bedoons. Agence France-Presse, August 5, 1991.
Foreign employees under class-A contracts are entitled to ninety-six percent of a month's salary for each of the first five years of employment and 144 percent of a month's salary for every year thereafter. Class-B contracts entitle a foreign employee to half of a month's salary for each of the first five years and a whole month's salary for every year thereafter. Per-diem employees and those hired under Class-C contracts are not entitled to severance pay under Kuwaiti Civil Service Regulations No. 6 of 1979 and No. 2 of 1982.
Sawt al-Kuwait, May 15, 1991.
Excluded from this definition are nationals of states not bound by the Fourth Geneva Convention, nationals of neutral and co-belligerent states with whom normal diplomatic relations are maintained, and persons protected by the three other Geneva Conventions of 1949. The stateless are also covered, according to the official ICRC Commentary, which states that "owing to its negative form the definition covers persons without any nationality." (Jean Pictet (ed.), Commentary on the Geneva Conventions, Geneva: ICRC, 1958, Vol. IV, p. 47). This view was made explicit by Article 73 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, which Kuwait has also ratified.
A senior Egyptian official told Middle East Watch on July 22 that there are about 23,000 Gazan Palestinians in Kuwait with Egyptian travel documents. Sources in the Gazan community in Kuwait estimate the number to be between 20,000 and 30,000. Egyptian travel documents (laissez passers) do not grant their holders Egyptian citizenship or entitle them to residence in Gaza now that Israel is the occupying power. Israel has refused to permit many of these Gazans to return to Gaza.
Even if, despite their tilt toward Iraq, Jordan and the PLO were deemed to be neutral, they have not maintained normal diplomatic relations with Kuwait. The Jordanian foreign minister told the newspaper al-Dustur (June 13, 1991) that his government "is ready to open the embassy; however, it has not received Kuwait's approval to do so." As reported in Federal Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), June 13, 1991. The PLO also provided diplomatic protection to Palestinians before August 2, 1990. Although its office was accredited as an embassy in 1988, the Kuwaiti government has refused to reaccredit it since liberation. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement distributed by KUNA and published in Sawt al-Kuwait (July 30, 1991), reiterated that "at the present time, there are no Palestinian diplomats accredited with the Ministry."
Remarks of François Bugnion of the ICRC legal department, published in the ICRC Bulletin, May 1991.
Commentary, IV, 64.
Article 39 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See also Commentary IV, 249.
Article 5 cautions that "such person shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial." It also calls on the state to grant such person "the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the state."
Shaikh Ali's remarks are from Sawt al-Kuwait, November 21, 1991. Shaikh Saad's remarks are from an interview with the Saudi weekly al-Majalla (The Magazine), December 12, 1991.
From remarks by Shaikh Ali al-Sabah in the government Sawt al-Kuwait, November 21, 1991.
Sawt al-Kuwait, July 18, 1991.
Many Bedoons are also children of Kuwaiti mothers. Under Kuwaiti Nationality Law (70/1966), however, children of a Kuwaiti mother married to a non-Kuwaiti citizen do not automatically acquire Kuwaiti citizenship, unlike children of a Kuwaiti father married to a foreign mother.
Statement by Angelo Gnaedinger, ICRC Delegate General for the Middle East. ICRC Bulletin, November 1991. He added that the ICRC had forwarded this information to the Kuwaiti authorities, who "want to check each case to make sure that the person is indeed a citizen or resident of Kuwait and that his or her return is not a security problem."
For further discussion of this issue, see the chapter on Iraq and Occupied Kuwait.
When members of the dissolved Assembly and their supporters held meetings in 1989 and 1990 to call for its restoration, the government responded violently. Kuwaiti security police used force to disperse the meetings and jailed some former parliamentarians who participated in them. The last of these incidents took place on May 15, 1990 _ only ten weeks before the Iraqi invasion of August 2.
The seven are the Islamic Constitutional Movement and the Islamic Grouping (two Sunni religious groups), the National Islamic Coalition (a Shi'a religious group), and four secular groups: the Kuwaiti Democratic Forum, the Constitutional Movement, the Deputies Bloc and the Independents.
According to the government newspaper Sawt al-Kuwait (June 6, 1991), the statements attributed to him included criticism of the government's decision to dissolve the National Assembly and the government's lack of military preparedness on the eve of the Iraqi invasion.
Of the major pre-invasion dailies, only the conservative al-Anba' has not started publishing inside Kuwait.
The GCC, formed in 1981, is composed of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Reuters, December 15, 1991.
Common Article 1.
An operation undertaken by the U.S. army in Kuwait was described as the largest civil affairs operation since the Second World War. It included the Kuwaiti Task Force, composed of fifty-seven army civil-affairs reservists who started planning reconstruction operations with the Kuwaiti government in December 1990. They included lawyers, doctors, engineers, a judge and other specialties. Later, Major General Patrick J. Kelly of the Army Corps of Engineers, head of the Defense Restoration Assistance Office in Kuwait, undertook the responsibility of supervising the Kuwait Emergency Reconstruction Office, a major reconstruction operation undertaken by the Corps of Engineers (John Kifner, "U.S. Army Doing the Work in Kuwait," The New York Times, April 5, 1991.) The Corps of Engineers will remain in Kuwait for some time, according to Colonel Curvee, its Public Information Director in Kuwait, in an interview with Sawt al-Kuwait on August 15, 1991. U.S. military officers also advised Kuwaiti legal authorities in the preparation of martial-law trials (Lee Hockstader, "Justice Goes on Trial in Kuwait," The Washington Post, April 3, 1991.)
Robert Fisk, "Kuwait Palestinians face gunmen's revenge," March 4, 1991.
John Kifner, "U.S. Army Doing the Work in Kuwait," The
New York Times, April 5, 1991.
Kathy Evans, "Watchdogs on trail of Kuwait abuses," April 14, 1991.
Robert Fisk, "US evidence links emirate's ruling family with death squads murdering Palestinians," April 27, 1991.
Chris Hedges, "A Year Later, Kuwait Sinks Into Malaise," The New York Times, August 2, 1991; Comments by Shaikh Sa'ad Abdalla al-Sabah, Sawt al-Kuwait, July 3, 1991.
Hearing of the Commerce, Justice and State Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, June 12, 1991.
David Hoffman, "Kuwaitis Defended By Baker," The Washington Post, June 13, 1991. In mid-April Secretary Baker described the emir of Kuwait and the crown prince as "very forthcoming," after they told him privately, "[T]here will be elections in 1992 and considerations are being given as well to voting rights for women." John M. Goshko, "Baker Presses Kuwait's Leadership," The Washington Post, April 23, 1991.
As reported by KUNA, April 10, 1991.
While avoiding mentioning the women's vote, the emir said in his address: "We recall the supreme and bright role that women undertook...behind the resistance fighters, as wives and sisters, and even as resistance fighters themselves. They gave examples of heroism that history will admiringly record, and Kuwait will proudly remember. The challenge propelled them in the face of the most difficult circumstances to provide for their homes and for Kuwait as a whole in spite of the siege of the [Iraqi] aggressors." The crown prince, who also avoided addressing women's right to vote, said in his speech: "The effective patriotic role of the Kuwaiti woman, whose great steadfastness as a mother, a sister, a wife, or as a daughter resisting the occupation inside Kuwait and fighting against it outside, made us proud and grateful. This role undoubtedly entitles her to an even greater role and fuller degree of contribution in the Kuwait of the future." Both addresses were published in Sawt al-Kuwait on July 10, 1991.
From a briefing by spokeswoman Tutwiler on June 27. By contrast, Abdalla al-Nibari, a Kuwaiti opposition leader, attributed the commutation to pressure from Kuwait's Western allies, and added, "It is a political decision. It gives the impression of being made under international pressure, especially from the British government." He added that it was the wrong decision; the trials were defective and therefore defendants should be granted new trials. Mideast Mirror, June 27, 1991.
State Department briefing, June 21, 1991.
David Hoffman, "Kuwaitis Defended By Baker," The Washington Post, June 13, 1991.
A woman deportee cried, "Please don't leave us here! Saddam people will surely kill us." The Washington Post, June 12, 1991.
Jonathan Broder, "Kuwait will expel most Palestinians, ambassador says," The Orange County Register, June 17, 1991.
The text as released by the Office of the Press Secretary at the White House (Kennebunkport, Maine), July 1, 1991.
The Kuwaiti government daily Sawt al-Kuwait featured the President's comments on its July 3 front page under the headline, "Bush declares his understanding of Kuwaitis' attitude toward collaborators: `We would be asking a lot if we asked them to show mercy,'he says."
Reuters, June 8, 1991.
Although these troops are scheduled to withdraw by the end of the year, under the September 19 defense agreement, there will be frequent rotations through regular joint exercises.
Eric Schmitt, "U.S. and Kuwait Sign Pact on Troops," The New York Times, September 20, 1991.
Rear Admiral Ray Taylor, as quoted in Mark Nicholson, "Kuwait's forces `not ready for combat'," Financial Times, November 18, 1991.
Agence France-Presse, November 17, 1991.
Mark Nicholson, "Kuwait's forces `not ready for combat,'" Financial Times, November 18, 1991.
Sawt al-Kuwait, September 20, 1991.
Sawt al-Kuwait, September 22, 1991.