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Terror attacks must be seen as crimes against humanity: Robinson

Terror attacks must be seen as crimes against humanity: Robinson

The top United Nations human rights official today emphasized that last month's terrorist attacks against the United States must be viewed as crimes against humanity - a strategy that is not only legally justified but will also isolate the perpetrators.

In an interview with UN Radio, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks must face trial. "The deliberate commandeering of civil aircraft to kill people with full gasoline tanks and crashing them deliberately into buildings with thousands of people with the intent to kill as many as possible crosses a line and fits the definition now of a crime against humanity, and that passes an immediate responsibility on all governments of the world to help to bring perpetrators to justice," she said.

Mrs. Robinson told UN Radio that if the perpetrators were tried for having committed crimes against humanity, they would be isolated. "You cannot in the name of a religion commit a crime against humanity, so they cannot invoke Islam for these acts," she pointed out. "The perpetrators committed a crime against humanity and hopefully this will diminish the way in which they are now trying to have a holy jihad with impressionable young people - I think it's much harder to try and do this when it's a crime against humanity."

The High Commissioner also expressed concern about the situation facing the Afghan civilian population. "I think its important that we try to get a balance between the military strategy and trying to ensure that there are not more indirect victims to add to the terrible victims - more than 6,000 killed and families decimated here in the US - we mustn't see thousands of Afghan civilians also indirectly dying as a result of not being able to get the food and shelter they need to face the winter," she said.