December 9, 2006

Bush and Conspirators Should be Investigated for Crimes Against Peace

The principles of the London agreement of August 8, 1945, for the trial of major European war criminals, and the accompanying charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg Principles) should be applied to George W. Bush, the signatories of the Project for a New American Century, and others who conspired to commit fraud in marketing the Iraq war to the US Congress and general public.

Crimes Against Peace*:

i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

Other Nuremberg Principles:

The charter enacts the principle that individuals rather than states are responsible for criminal violations of international law and applies to such lawbreakers the principle of conspiracy by which one who joins in a common plan to commit crime becomes responsible for the acts of any other conspirator in executing the plan.

It also prohibits the plea of "acts of state" as freeing defendants from legal responsibility, the charter refuses to recognize the immunity once enjoyed by criminal statesmanship.

Soldiers and officers who are refusing to serve in Iraq are supported by the charter principle, which provides that orders of a superior authority shall not free a defendant from responsibility. [1]

During the Nuremberg trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated:

"To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [2]

In this view, despite statements by both Democrats and Republicans that much of the violence in Iraq is the blame of the Iraqis themselves, the ultimate responsibility for these accumulated evils are those who conspired to start the war of aggression against Iraq.

A former federal prosecutor named Elizabeth de la Vega has drafted a hypothetical indictment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top officials for tricking the nation into war and for conspiracy to defraud the United States. The evidence and arguments are laid out in a new book entitled United States v. George W. Bush, et al.. [3][4]

But George W. Bush and his immediate conspirators may not be the only people who are exposed to legal action. Some British citizens are probably also culpable. In addition, some U.S. members of Congress could be legally exposed.

The U.S. Congress passed the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which among other things revises the 1996 US War Crimes Act to provide retroactive protection to George W. Bush and his conspirators. The War Crimes Act establishes serious punishments for people in the Executive Branch who violate the Geneva Conventions, including the death penalty for grave breaches. This recent action by Congress exposes their concern that certain people in the Executive Branch may be guilty of such crimes. Some have argued that Congress members who voted for this Act could be tried as accomplices under principles of obstruction of justice.

The Iraq War is Illegal

"The UN charter states that only the Security Council can authorise the use of force (except in cases of self-defence). ...[I]t is clear that in terms of the resolutions presented by the UK itself, the subsequent invasion was not authorised by the Security Council and was thus illegal. The clearest evidence of this is the fact that the UK sought an authorising resolution and failed to get it."
-- Carne Ross [5]

Sources, Notes and More Links:

* The definition of "crimes against peace" was first incorporated into the Nuremberg Principles and later included in the United Nations Charter. The United States has adopted the UN Charter as a treaty, ratified by the US Senate. Treaties form part of the "supreme law of the land" under the Constitution, Article VI, Clause 2.

[1] Much of the material preceding this reference number is taken directly from Yale University's Avalon Project.

[2] Wikipedia. Crimes against Peace, Nuremberg Principles.

[3] DemocracyNow! December 8, 2006.

[4] Text of the IndictmentCommondreams November 29, 2006, from TomDispatch.com

[5] Transcript of Carne Ross Testimony to Butler Inquiry

Who is Carne Ross: Ross was First Secretary in the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York from December 1997 until June 2002. He was responsible for Iraq policy in the mission, including policy on sanctions, weapons inspections and liaison with UNSCOM and later UNMOVIC.

During that time, he helped negotiate several UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq, including resolution 1284 which, inter alia, established UNMOVIC (an acronym Ross coined late one New York night during the year-long negotiation). He took part in policy debates within HMG and in particular with the US government. He attended many policy discussions on Iraq with the US State Department in Washington, New York and London.

British Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

The Crime of War: From Nuremberg to Fallujah, a review of current international law regarding wars of aggression, Nicholas J.S. Davies.

1 comment:

Walt said...

Lawyers will have fun with this, but I doubt they'll ever have the chance.