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An Open Letter to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands
Fax: +31 70 515 8555
Email: otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

July 15, 2008

Dear Chief Prosecutor,

Congratulations on your request for an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan.  When the rule of law cannot be justly enforced within a nation, it must be enforced internationally.  In that regard, I would like to recommend that you seek an arrest warrant for the president of my nation, the United States of America.  I have read your letter of February 9, 2006, in which you decline to seek prosecution of George W. Bush, and I believe new evidence compels another review.

With all due respect for the difficulty of your work, the case you have brought against the president of Sudan has followed quite different standards than those applied in your refusal to prosecute the president of the United States.  In fact, you have refused to consider prosecution of George W. Bush because the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court.  But Sudan is also not a member of the International Criminal Court.  Were you to consider the evidence of international crimes in Iraq as it exists today, and to consider the crimes committed on behalf of the president of the United States by members of the United States military and mercenaries employed by the United States, I believe you would find a case for prosecution that met the standards you applied, and applied well and admirably, to the president of Sudan.
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While there is good reason to expect multiple prosecutions of George W. Bush and of his Vice President and top advisors by individual nations, the rule of law would benefit were the International Criminal Court to take the lead.  Should it fail to do so, the entire idea of international law will suffer seriously.  In the time since your 2006 letter, Judge Baltasar Garzón of Spain, on March 20, 2008, has written these words in El Pais:

"Breaking every international law, and under the pretext of the war against terror, there has taken place since 2003 a devastating attack on the rule of law and against the very essence of the international community. In its path, institutions such as the United Nations were left in tatters, from which it has not yet recovered....We should look more deeply into the possible criminal responsibility of the people who are, or were, responsible for this war and see whether there is sufficient evidence to make them answer for it....There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation and inquiry to start without more delay."

You wrote in your 2006 letter that you cannot prosecute the crime of aggressive war but only the commission of war crimes that take place during a war, and that in 2009 it may become possible for you to prosecute the crime of aggression.  While we must all strive to make that prosecution possible in 2009, it is not needed in order to prosecute George W. Bush, and his prosecution should not wait.  As the Nuremberg Tribunal stated so well, "To initiate a war of aggression…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."  This has proven to be true in Iraq, and in Bush's global "war on terrorism", and there is no reason to delay prosecution for each separate element of the accumulated evil.

In order to prosecute crimes against humanity, you write that you need to identify "widespread or systemic attack directed against any civilian population."  The civilian population of Iraq has suffered as a result of the US-led invasion and occupation in numbers and proportion that can only be called widespread and systemic.  Iraqi deaths as a result of the invasion and occupation, measured above the high death rate under international sanctions preceding the attack, are estimated at 1.2 million by two independent sources (Just Foreign Policy's updated figure based on the Johns Hopkins / Lancet report, and the British polling company Opinion Research Business's estimate as of August 2007).  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Iraqis who have fled their homes has reached 4.7 million.  If these estimates are accurate, a total of nearly 6 million human beings have been displaced from their homes or killed.  Many times that many have certainly been injured, traumatized, impoverished, and deprived of clean water and other basic needs.  

In examining attacks on civilian populations, some specific incidents can be highlighted, not all of them occurring between March and May 2003, the period of time you referred to in your 2006 letter, and not all of them involving soldiers of the United Kingdom.  It is necessary to examine the entire length of the US-led occupation, and to examine the crimes of US troops and mercenaries.  Since May of 2005 I have collected evidence of these crimes on a website at http://afterdowningstreet.org  A thoroughly documented October 2006 report posted there and prepared by Consumers for Peace (www.consumersforpeace.org) with the advice of Karen Parker, President of the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (www.humanlaw.org) and Chief Delegate to the United Nations for the International Educational Development/Humanitarian Law Project (IED/AHL), will provide you with much useful evidence of crimes during the sieges of Fallujah, Samara, Tal Afar, and other cities, as well as systemic violations of the basic duties of an occupying power, and widespread illegal use of a variety of weapons.  See:
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http://davidswanson.org
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 

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