Rights Group: Attacks on Iraqi Civs Are War Crimes

Guerrillas who attack civilians in Iraq for collaborating with the U.S.-led coalition are committing war crimes, a human rights group said Saturday.

International humanitarian law forbids targeting civilians, New York-based Human Rights Watch noted in a statement.

"Civilians working for the occupying power are not legitimate targets of attack," Human Rights Watch said.

The statement cited attacks on translators, government officials and community leaders, including Aquila al-Hashimi, a member of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council (search) who was gunned down near her Baghdad home on Sept. 20.

"All Iraqi civilians are protected by the Geneva Conventions (search)," said Joe Stork, acting executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division. "It doesn't matter whether they sympathize with the U.S. occupation, or with the insurgents."

Human Rights Watch also cited the deaths of Sargoun Murado, who represented Assyrian Christians (search) on the municipal council of the southern city of Basra; two prominent judges, Muhan Jabir al-Shuwaili and Ismail Yusif; and Faris Abdul-Razzaq al-Asam, Baghdad's deputy mayor.