There is a growing awareness among the chattering classes in the
There is overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that President Bush and others in his administration have violated numerous international laws and conventions. They have violated
The War Crimes Act states that â€œWhoeverâ€¦commits a war crimeâ€¦defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a partyâ€ will be â€œfined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.â€ According to the Nuremberg Principles, if war crimes have been committed under this act, President Bush, as head of state, should be held responsible.
Article VI of the constitution states that â€œAll treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the
President Bush began violating international law the moment the
The Bush Administration cannot justify the war under the spurious defence of a preemptive strike because no such term exists in international law. International law states that an act of war only qualifies as self-defense if there is an â€œactual or imminentâ€ threat. Administration legal spinners canâ€™t legitimately demonstrate that
The military occupation of
President Bush has also violated a number of clauses in the fourth Geneva Convention where it is stated that â€œIn the case of armed conflictâ€¦Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their armsâ€¦shall in all circumstances be treated humanelyâ€¦[and] the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and at any place: a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds; mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; b) Taking of hostages; c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.â€ (Part 1, Article 3) It also states that â€œThe present Convention shall apply from the outset of any conflict or occupation.â€ (Article 6)
Fallujah is a typical example of American forces ignoring the rights of civilians and the protection of non-military targets. The objective of the November 8/05 assault on Fallujah was to kill all the insurgents who were in the city and to establish a deterrent from further action on the part of all insurgents throughout
Preceding the attack on Fallujah, American warplanes conducted nightly air strikes on residential buildings, restaurants and mosques. Before the actual assault began,
After blasting Fallujah with tanks,
According to Michael Schwartz, â€œWhen the first medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 unburied and rotting bodies (reputedly including those of 550 women and children) in only one-third of the city; and these obviously didnâ€™t include the dead already buried during the battle or hidden under the debris.â€
Many of the 200,000 refugees who were forced to abandon their homes brought nothing with them and ended up in refugee camps without any facilities or help from the American or the Interim Iraqi Government.
Even one death in an illegal war would have constituted a war crime. In Fallujah, innocent people were killed, buildings were destroyed, and refugees ignored, all of which violated clauses of the
Alberto Gonzales, former White House Counsel, declared that provisions of the Geneva Conventions are obsolete and therefore, the
Torture has become standard treatment for prisoners who have been either captured by American troops or by others and handed over to American troops under dubious circumstances including the refusal to grant them the rights guaranteed to them in American law and international law. Interviews with prisoners, translators or other army personnel present during torture sessions offers definitive proof of the frequency and cruelty of the torture inflicted on American prisoners. It has recently been revealed that suspects around the world have been arrested, drugged and bound before being flown to secret prisons in Europe including
Furthermore, American forces have used white phosphorous and depleted uranium weapons both of which have been banned by the Convention On Conventional Weapons. Depleted uranium weapons are particularly cruel given the extremely long half-life of the isotopes which will be responsible for severe health defects in
If the House Judiciary Committee ever formulates articles of impeachment, to focus on the less substantive issues such as lying to Congress or lying about WMD etc., will further weaken the United Nations and the international regime of laws which criminalize wars of aggression and civilize war to the furthest extent possible. By only charging Bush with lying implies that the war would have been legitimate if WMD had been found.
Even mere presence of WMD in
Ignoring the war crimes of the President also diminishes the role of the United Nations as the only instrument for resolving disputes and authorizing war. Congressional approval for a war does not override the United Nations Charter which has become part of American law. If the United States and other nations decide not to relinquish some of their sovereignty over foreign and defense policy to a world body such as the UN, the hope for a world without war may be overtaken by the proliferation of sophisticated weapons and, in particular of nuclear weapons and the propensity of people to resolve their disputes by violent means.
President Bush is guilty of lying to the American people and violating international law. Both are serious offenses but to ignore the latter is a disservice to the United Nations, to American soldiers who have sacrificed their lives and to the people of