[News] World Tribunal on Iraq - Findings

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Tue Jun 28 08:54:44 EDT 2005



Also see below:
<http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_062705A.shtml#1#1>Preliminary 
Declaration of the Jury of Conscience World Tribunal on Iraq    •

     <http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=93>Go to Original

     Tribunal on Iraq Findings
     World Tribunal on Iraq

     Monday 27 June 2005
The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on 
our future, on us all - The Jury of Conscience

     Istanbul, 27 June, 2005 - With a Jury of Conscience from 10 different 
countries hearing the testimonies of 54 members of the Panel of Advocates 
who came from across the world, including Iraq, the United States and the 
United Kingdom, this global civil initiative came to an end with a press 
conference at the Hotel Armada where the chair of the Jury of Conscience, 
Arundathi Roy, announced the Jury's conclusions.

      The Jury defined this war as one of the most unjust in history: 'The 
Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition to 
the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked 
upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The 
Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the 
destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order 
have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human 
security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care 
delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; 
there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the 
cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.'

      On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of 
the United Nations and other legal documents, the jury has established the 
following charges against the Governments of the US and the UK:
    * Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of 
aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg 
Principles.
    * Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure
    * Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems
    * Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military 
activities and during the occupation period thereafter
    * Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors
    * Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective 
punishment
    * Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, 
inhuman, or degrading treatment
    * Re-writing the laws of a country that has been illegally invaded and 
occupied
    * Willfully devastating the environment
    * Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women 
has seriously been degraded
    * Failing to protect humanity's rich archaeological and cultural 
heritage in Iraq
    * Obstructing the right to information, including the censoring of 
Iraqi media
    * Redefining torture in violation of international law, to allow use of 
torture and illegal detentions

     The Jury also established charges against the Security Council of 
United Nations for failing to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity 
among other failures, against the Governments of the Coalition of the 
Willing for collaborating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, against 
the Governments of Other Countries for allowing the use of military bases 
and air space and providing other logistical support, against Private 
Corporations for profiting from the war, against the Major Corporate Media 
for disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to report atrocities.

     The Jury also provided a number of recommendations that include 
recognising the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal occupation 
of their country and to develop independent institutions, and affirming 
that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a struggle for 
self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from the Charter 
of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our solidarity 
with the people of Iraq and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of 
the coalition forces from Iraq.

     The Istanbul session of the WTI lasted three days and presented 
testimony on the illegality and criminal violations in the U.S. pretexts 
for and conduct of this war. The expert opinion, witness testimony, video 
and image evidence addressed the impact of war on civilians, the torture of 
prisoners, the unlawful imprisonment of Iraqis without charges or legal 
defence, the use of depleted uranium weapons, the effects of the war on 
Iraq's infrastructure, the destruction of Iraqi cultural institutions and 
the liability of the invaders in international law for failing to protect 
these treasures of humanity.

     The session in Istanbul was the culminating session of commissions of 
inquiry and hearings held around the world over the past two years. 
Sessions on different topics related to the war on Iraq were held in 
London, Mumbai, Copenhagen, Brussels, New York, Japan, Stockholm, South 
Korea, Rome, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon and Spain.

     They have compiled a definitive historical record of evidence on the 
illegality of the invasion and occupation that will be recorded in a 
forthcoming book.



     <http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=91>Go to Original

     Preliminary Declaration of the Jury of Conscience World Tribunal on Iraq
     Istanbul

     27th June 2005, Istanbul

     In February 2003, weeks before war was declared on Iraq, millions of 
people protested in the streets of the world. That call went unheeded. No 
international institution had the courage or conscience to stand up to the 
aggression of the US and UK governments. No one could stop them. It is two 
years later now. Iraq has been invaded, occupied, and devastated. The 
attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our 
future, on us all. We the people of conscience decided to stand up. We 
formed the World Tribunal on Iraq, to demand justice and a peaceful future.

     The legitimacy of the World Tribunal on Iraq is located in the 
collective conscience of humanity. This, the Istanbul session, was the 
culmination of a series of 20 hearings held in different cities of the 
world focusing on the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

     We the Jury of Conscience, from 10 different countries, met in 
Istanbul. We heard 54 testimonies from a panel of advocates and witnesses 
who came from across the world, including from Iraq, the United States and 
the United Kingdom.

     The World Tribunal on Iraq met in Istanbul from 24-26th of June 2005. 
The principal objective of the WTI is to tell the truth about the Iraq war 
as clearly as possible, and to draw conclusions that underscore the 
accountability of those responsible and underline the significance of 
justice for the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein's crimes against his people 
are not the focus of this Tribunal. We believe it is up to the Iraqi people 
to investigate these crimes in an independent and free trial.

     I. Overview

     1. The reasons given by the US and UK governments for the illegal 
invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003 have proven to be false. The 
real motive was to control and dominate the Middle East. Establishing 
hegemony over the Middle East serves the goal of controlling the world's 
largest reserves of oil and strengthening the position of the US's 
strategic ally Israel.

     2. Blatant falsehoods about the presence of weapons of mass 
destruction in Iraq and a link between Al Qaeda terrorism and the Saddam 
Hussein régime were manufactured in order to create public support for a 
"preemptive" assault upon a sovereign independent nation.

     3. Iraq has been under siege for years. The imposition of severe 
inhuman economic sanctions at the end of the first Gulf war in 1991; the 
establishment of no-fly zones in the Northern and Southern parts of Iraq; 
and the concomitant bombing of the country were all aimed at degrading and 
weakening Iraq's human and material resources and capacities in order to 
facilitate its subsequent invasion and occupation. In this enterprise the 
US and British leaderships had the endorsement of a complicit UN Security 
Council.

     4. In pursuit of their agenda of empire, the Bush and Blair blatantly 
ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people 
around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and 
cowardly wars in history.

     5. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led 
to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and 
order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human 
security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care 
delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; 
there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the 
cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.

     6. The occupation has intentionally exacerbated ethnic and 
confessionnal divisions in Iraqi society, with the aim of undermining 
Iraq's identity and integrity as a nation. This is in keeping with the fam 
liar imperial policy of divide and rule.

     7. The imposition of the UN sanctions in 1991 caused untold suffering 
and thousands of deaths. The situation has worsened after the occupation. 
At least 100,000 civilians have been killed; 60,000 are being held in US 
custody in inhuman conditions, without charges; thousands have disappeared; 
and torture has become virtually routine.

     8. The privatization, deregulation, and liberalization of the Iraqi 
economy has transformed the country into a client economy that serves the 
Washington Consensus. The occupying forces have also accomplished their 
primary goal of acquired control over the nation's oil.

     9. Any law or institution created under the aegis of occupation is 
devoid of both legal and moral authority. The recently concluded election, 
the Constituent Assembly, the current government, and the drafting 
committee for the Constitution are therefore all illegitimate.

     10. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, 
social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to 
repression by the occupying forces. It is the brutality of the occupation 
that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of 
desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in 
international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is 
legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who 
care for justice and freedom.

     II. Findings and Charges

     On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of 
the United Nations and other legal documents quoted in the appendix, the 
jury has established the following charges.

     A. Against the Governments of the US and the UK

     1. Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of 
aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg 
Principles.
Evidence for this can be found in the leaked Downing Street Memo of 23rd 
July, 2002 in which it was revealed that: "military action was now seen as 
inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified 
by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts 
were fixed around the policy." Intelligence was manufactured to willfully 
deceive the people of the US, the UK, and their elected representatives.

     2. Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian 
infrastructure, by intentionally directing attacks upon civilians and 
hospitals, medical centers, residential neighborhoods, electricity 
stations, and water purification facilities in violation of the Geneva 
Conventions of 1949 and the International Covenant for Civil and Political 
Rights ("ICCPR"), Articles 7(1)(a), 8(2)(a)(i), and 8(2)(b)(i). The 
complete destruction of the city of Falluja in itself constitutes a glaring 
example of such crimes.

     3. Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems, 
such as cluster munitions, incendiary bombs, depleted uranium (DU), and 
chemical weapons. Detailed evidence was presented to the Tribunal by expert 
witnesses that leukemia had risen sharply in children under the age of five 
residing in those areas which had been targeted by DU weapons.

     4. Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military 
activities and during the occupation period thereafter, in violation of the 
Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 13 and 27, and the ICC Statute, Articles 
7 (1)(a) and 8(2)(a)(i). This is evidenced, for example, by "shock and awe" 
bombing techniques and the conduct of occupying forces at checkpoints.

     5. Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors, beginning with, 
among others, the April 2003 killing of more than a dozen peaceful 
protestors in Falluja.

     6. Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective 
punishment, on the people of Iraq, in violation of the International 
Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Geneva Conventions, and 
customary international law requiring due process. Repeated testimonies 
pointed to "snatch and grab" operations, disappearances, and assassinations.

     7. Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, 
inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the 
ICCPR, other treaties and covenants, and customary international law. 
Degrading treatment includes subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to 
acts of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination, as well as 
denying Iraqi soldiers Prisoner of War status as required by the Geneva 
Convention. Abundant testimony was provided of unlawful arrests and 
detentions, without due process of law. Well known and egregious examples 
occurred in Abu Ghraib prison as well as in Mosul, Camp Bucca, and Basra. 
The employment of mercenaries and private contractors to carry out torture 
has served to undermine accountability.

     8. Re-writing the laws of a country that has been illegally invaded 
and occupied, in violation of international covenants on the 
responsibilities of occupying powers, in order to amass illegal profits 
(through such measures as Order 39, signed by L. Paul Bremer III for the 
Coalition Provisional Authority, which allows foreign investors to buy and 
takeover Iraq's state-owned enterprises and to repatriate 100 percent of 
their profits and assets at any point) and to control Iraq's oil. Evidence 
listed a number of corporations that had profited from such transactions.

     9. Willfully devastating the environment, contaminating it by depleted 
uranium (DU) weapons, combined with the plumes from burning oil wells, as 
well as huge oil spills, and destroying agricultural lands. Deliberately 
disrupting the water and waste removal systems, in a manner verging on 
biological-chemical warfare. Failing to prevent the looting and dispersal 
of radioactive material from nuclear sites. Extensive documentation is 
available on air, water pollution, land degradation, and radiological 
pollution.

     10. Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women 
has seriously been degraded contrary, to the repeated claims of the leaders 
of the coalition forces. Women's freedom of movement has been severely 
limited, restricting their access to education, livelihood, and social 
engagement. Testimony was provided that sexual violence and sex trafficking 
have increased since the occupation of Iraq began.

     11. Failing to protect humanity's rich archaeological and cultural 
heritage in Iraq, by allowing the looting of museums and established 
historical sites and positioning military bases in culturally and 
archeologically sensitive locations. This took place despite prior warnings 
from UNESCO and Iraqi museum officials.

     12. Obstructing the right to information, including the censoring of 
Iraqi media, such as newspapers (e.g., al-Hawza, al-Mashriq, and 
al-Mustaqila) and radio stations (Baghdad Radio), targeting international 
journalists, imprisoning and killing academics, intellectuals and scientists.

     13. Redefining torture in violation of international law, to allow use 
of torture and illegal detentions, including holding more than 500 people 
at Guantánamo Bay without charging them or allowing them any access to 
legal protection, and using "extraordinary renditions" to send people to 
torture in other countries known to commit human rights abuses and torture 
prisoners.

     B. Against the Security Council of United Nations

     1. Failing to protect Iraq against a crime of aggression.

     2. Imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iraq, despite knowledge that 
sanctions were directly contributing to the massive loss of civilian lives 
and harming innocent civilians.

     3. Allowing the United States and United Kingdom to carry out illegal 
bombings in the no-fly zones, using false pretense of enforcing UN 
resolutions, and at no point allowing discussion in the Security Council of 
this violation, and thereby being complicit and responsible for loss of 
civilian life and destruction of Iraqi infrastructure.

     4. Allowing the United States to dominate the United Nations and hold 
itself above any accountability by other member nations.

     5. Failure to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity by the 
United States and its coalition partners in Iraq.

     6. Failure to hold the United States and its coalition partners 
accountable for violations of international law during the occupation, and 
giving official recognition to the occupation, thereby legitimizing an 
illegal invasion and becoming a collaborator in an illegal occupation.

     C. Against the Governments of the Coalition of the Willing
Collaborating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

     D. Against the Governments of Other Countries
Allowing the use of military bases and air space, and providing other 
logistical support, for the invasion and occupation.

     E. Against Private Corporations
Profiting from the war with complicity in the crimes described above, of 
invasion and occupation.

     F. Against the Major Corporate Media

     1. Disseminating the deliberate falsehoods spread by the governments 
of the US and the UK and failing to adequately investigate this 
misinformation. This even in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary. 
Among the corporate media houses that bear special responsibility for 
promoting the lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, we name the 
New York Times, in particular their reporter Judith Miller, whose main 
source was on the payroll of the CIA. We also name Fox News, CNN and the BBC.

     2. Failing to report the atrocities being committed against Iraqi 
people by the occupying forces.

     III. Recommendations

     Recognising the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal 
occupation of their country and to develop independent institutions, and 
affirming that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a 
struggle for self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from 
the Charter of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our 
solidarity with the people of Iraq.

     We recommend:

     1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces 
from Iraq;

     2. That coalition governments make war reparations and pay 
compensation to Iraq for the humanitarian, economic, ecological, and 
cultural devastation they have caused by their illegal invasion and 
occupation;

     3. That all laws, contracts, treaties, and institutions established 
under occupation which the Iraqi people deem inimical to their interests, 
should be considered null and void;

     4. That the Guantanamo Bay prison and all other offshore US military 
prisons be closed immediately; that the names of the prisoners be 
disclosed, that they receive POW status, and receive due process;

     5. That there be an exhaustive investigation of those responsible for 
crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity in Iraq, beginning with 
George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; Tony Blair, 
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and other government officials from 
the coalition of the willing;

     6. That we initiate a process of accountability to hold those morally 
and personally responsible for their participation in this illegal war, 
such as journalists who deliberately lied, corporate media outlets that 
promoted racial, ethnic and religious hatred, and CEOs of multinational 
corporations that profited from this war;

     7. That people throughout the world launch actions against US and UK 
corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such 
corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle, CACI Inc., Titan 
Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, 
Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have 
sued Iraq and received "reparation awards": Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried 
Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such 
actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their 
offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest.

     8. That soldiers exercise conscience and refuse to enlist and 
participate in an illegal war. Also that countries provide conscientious 
objectors political asylum.

     9. That the international campaign for dismantling all US military 
bases abroad be reinforced.

     10. That people around the world resist and reject any effort by any 
of their governments to provide material, logistical, or moral support to 
the occupation of Iraq.

     We, the Jury of Conscience, hope that the specificity of these 
recommendations will lay the groundwork required for a world where the 
international institutions will be shaped and reshaped by the will of 
people and not fear and self-interest, where journalists and intellectuals 
will not remain mute, where the will of the people of the world will be 
central, and human security will prevail over state security and corporate 
profits.

     Appendix: List of Legal Documents
     The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
     The Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952)
     The Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959)
     The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial 
Discrimination (1963)
     The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
     The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 
Against Women (1979)
     The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment (1984)
     The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
     The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)
     The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950)
     The American Convention on Human Rights (1969)
     The Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of the United States of 
America (1963)


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