International War Crimes Trial


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World Tribunal on Iraq 2003 - 2005

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Iraqi Victims Expose U.S. War Crimes

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World Tribunal On Iraq 
2003 - 2005
 
 
About WTI
 
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) is a worldwide undertaking to reclaim justice. It aims to record the severe wrongs, crimes and violations that were committed in the process leading up to the aggression against Iraq, during the war and throughout the ensuing occupation, that continue to be widespread to this day. It is our intention to also record the social, political, environmental and cultural devastation. In the end, the evidence gathered and presented will serve as a historical record that breaks the web of lies promulgated by the war coalition and its embedded press.

WTI is a horizontal network of local groups and individuals worldwide that work together in a non- hierarchical system. The project consists of commissions of inquiry and sessions held around the world investigating various issues related to the war on Iraq, such as the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and the role of the media.

On June 23rd to the 27th 2005, at the start of the third year of the occupation of Iraq, the culminating session will take place in Istanbul. This session will reach a decision following an examination of the results of the previous sessions as well as new reports and testimonies, while evaluating the implications of the aggression against Iraq for the world at large.
 

The Legitimacy of the Project
 
A war of aggression was launched despite the opposition of people and governments all over the world. However, there is no court or authority that will judge the acts of the US and its allies. If the official authorities fail, then authority derived from universal morals and human rights principles can speak for the world.
 
Our legitimacy derives from:

  • the failure of official international institutions to hold accountable those who committed grave international crimes and constitute a continued menace to world peace;

  • being part of the worldwide anti-war movement which expressed its opposition to this invasion;

  • the Iraqi people resisting occupation;

  • the duty of all people of conscience to take action against wars of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other breaches of international law;

  • the struggles of the past to develop systems of peaceful co-existence and prevent future aggression and breaches of the UN Charter;

  • giving voice to the voiceless victims of this war, articulating the concerns of civil society as expressed by the worldwide social justice and peace movements;

  • the will to bring the principles of international law to the forefront.

Further, our legitimacy will be earned as we proceed to achieve the aims stated in this document.


The tasks of the Tribunal
  • The first task of the tribunal is to investigate the crimes committed by the US government in launching the Iraq war. In spite of a world movement condemning this war and its clear violations of international law , the US government forced its premeditated war strategy upon the world. Moreover the US-government demands impunity and continues to put itself above all international laws and conventions.

  • The second task is to investigate allegations of war crimes during the aggression, crimes against laws of occupation, humanitarian law and crimes against humanity, including genocide. Such an inquiry may include the sanctions imposed against Iraq and the use of illegal weapons which kill over generations, such as depleted uranium.

  • The third task is the investigation and exposure of the New Imperial World Order. The tribunal would therefore consider the broader context of the doctrines of "pre-emptive war" and "preventive war" and all the consequences of those doctrines : "benevolent hegemony", "full spectrum dominance" and "multiple simultaneous theatre wars"… As part of this process, some hearings will investigate the vast economic interests involved in this rationalized war-logic.

  • The tribunal, after having examined reports and documentary evidence and having listened to witnesses (Iraqi and international victims and various experts), will reach a decision.

The Aims
 
In organising this International Tribunal we pursue four fundamental aims.
  • To establish the facts about what happened in Iraq and to inform the public about the crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes during the occupation, about the real goals behind this war and the dangers of this War logic for world peace. It is especially important to break the web of lies promulgated by the war-coalition and its imbedded press.

  • To continue and strengthen the mobilisation of the peace movement and the global anti-war protest. It is intended that the tribunal will not be an academic endeavour but will be backed by a strong international network. Anti-war and peace movements, which carried out the big mass movements against the attack on Iraq have in principle adopted the idea of indicting the aggressors and of setting up a campaign to support the Tribunal process.

  • The tribunal is to be considered a continuing process. The investigation of what happened in Iraq is of prime importance to restore truth and preserve collective memory against the constant rewriting of history. We are challenging the silence of international institutions and seeking to put them under pressure to fulfil their obligations under international law. In judging the recent past our aim is to prevent illegal wars in the future. During this process the tribunal can formulate recommendations on international law and expand notions of justice and ethical-political awareness. It can contribute to providing alternatives to 'victors' justice' and give a voice to the victims of the war. In doing so, we support the demands by world public opinion and the Iraqi people to end the occupation and restore Iraqi sovereignty.

  • The International Tribunal initiative seeks to be part of a broader movement to stop the establishment of the new imperial world order as a permanent 'state of exception' with constant wars as one of its main tools. The Tribunal can bring a moral, political and judicial judgment that contributes to build a world of peace and justice.

Form of the Tribunal
 
The general plan is to hold an independent world tribunal with: associated events, associated commissions of inquiry, commissions of investigation, hearings and specific issue tribunal sessions in various countries, culminating in a final tribunal session in Istanbul. As for now, other finalized locations for sessions are Brussels and Hiroshima. At the moment other proposals for sites of hearings include New York, Copenhagen, Munich and Mexico. Associated events will be held in London - Legal Inquiry into the Invasion and Military Occupation of Iraq - and at the WSF in Mumbai - World Court on War as Crime. The ICTI (International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq) of Japan that is now preparing for public hearings of Iraq tribunal throughout Japan and various Asian countries is a partner in the World Tribunal on Iraq and will contribute to the final session of WTI in Istanbul with all its findings.

Being confronted with the paradox that we want to end impunity but we do not have the enforcement power to do so, we have to follow a middle way between mere political protest and academic symposiums without any judicial ambition on the one hand, and on the other hand, procedural trials of which the outcome is known beforehand. This paradox implies that we are just citizens and therefore have no right to judge in a strict judicial way and have at the same time the duty as citizens to oppose criminal and war policies, which should be our starting point and our strength.

Although these commissions of inquiry will be working in conformity with an overall concept that will apply to the whole tribunal (spelled out in the Charter), the hearings will also have some autonomy oncerning format. By approaching the Iraq case from as many angles as possible (international law, geopolitical and economical analysis, we strengthen our common objective to end impunity and resist the imperial wars. In this way the hearings will mutually enforce each other and all the findings will be brought together in the final session in Istanbul.

In order to be as inclusive as possible, we will support and recognize endeavours to resist impunity. The project will endorse and support the efforts to bring national authorities and warmakers to national courts (like the complaints filed in various state courts under the doctrine of Universal Jurisdiction ) and to international courts (like the International Criminal Court in the Hague).
 

Timing

The core series of hearings will start on Wednesday April 14th 2004 in Brussels and end in a final tribunal session in Istanbul that will start on June 23th 2005. These will be preceded by intensive inquiries, networking and campaigning.

Appeal to the national and international movements

We address an appeal to all organizations and individuals to support this project. We invite organizations to endorse and participate at various levels. They could:

  1. Undertake to organize a hearing or an associated event.

  2. Host a hearing.

  3. Contribute by contacts, names of people who would qualify to take part in the various components of the tribunal and make initial contacts with those people.

  4. Contribute names & contacts of persons and organizations of experts who are already researching various aspects of the crimes and violations in question.

  5. Undertake to prepare certain reports and make them available for the use of the tribunal.

  6. Build a web page in as many languages as possible and see that information is timely posted.

  7. Undertake to organize a local campaign in support of the tribunal.

  8. Contribute financially towards meeting the expenses involved in realizing this tribunal

Origins of the Project

The idea of organising an international tribunal against the invasion of Iraq originated nearly simultaneously in several places around the world. It was discussed and in principle supported at Anti-War Meetings during 2003 in Berlin, Jakarta and Geneva, Paris and Cancun. The Jakarta Peace Consensus declared on May 25th, 2003 its commitment to the realisation of an international war crimes tribunal. The proposal was also discussed at the Networking Conference (European Network for Peace and Human Rights) organised by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in Brussels on June 26/27th 2003, and the idea was broadly supported at that meeting.

The working group meeting in Brussels discussed the idea and possibilities of convening an international tribunal to investigate and establish the crimes perpetrated against the people of Iraq and humanity. It was decided that it would consist of several hearings around the world, each of them focusing on different aspects of this war and the strategies behind it. The tribunal platform from Turkey was entrusted with the task of acting as the secretariat and the clearing house, and carrying out the coordination in close contact with the groups in Brussels, Hiroshima, New York, London and other cities. This international Coordinating Committee convened a meeting in Istanbul on October 27-29th 2003 to decide the concept, form and aims of the project.

 

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Copyright John McCarthy 2005 if not indicated otherwise

 
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