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The following is a request by prominent British figures addressed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan and UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith for an investigation of an attached list of breaches of international law in conjunction with the war on Iraq.


Letter to UN and UK Attorney General

On 7th December 2005 Tony Benn and forty three others, including Rose Gentle, Reg Keys, Harold Pinter, and Michael Mansfield QC, sent a letter to The UN and to the UK Attorney General asking them to investigate breaches of The Nuremberg Charter and Geneva and Hague Conventions during the Iraq War, and to bring those responsible to account. The UK is obliged as a Signator to The Conventions to investigate these charges. STOP THE WAR asks you to join as supplementary signatories by e-mail, or post. We want these signatures to be without end or time limit, and, as citizens of the UK, to make it clear, that the Attorney General must fulfill his obligations.

Alternatively we risk these Conventions being torn up, and in the words of Harold Pinter, we will have "torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder," without cease. We want to restore dignity, and humanity to our country, not the rule of Abu Ghraib, the dog lead, and Fallujah.

If you agree with the Tony Benn Submission which follows, can you please send your name to the Stop The War e-mail site (, or by post to Stop The War, 27 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JP, where it will be recorded and passed to the UN and Attorney General. Your e-mail address will be kept secret.

Lindsey German, and Nicholas Wood on behalf of Tony Benn.


With Reference to The Iraq War 2003 - 2005

This is a request to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN that he should instigate an investigation into the claims listed in the attachment to this memorandum. It is also jointly addressed to Lord Goldsmith the Attorney General of the UK. The UK is a High Contracting Party and Signatory to The Geneva and Hague Conventions and Protocols and The Nuremberg Charter of 1945, and of The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court. It is thus appropriate that The Attorney General should investigate what appear to be grave breaches of these Conventions and Protocols, and of UN General Assembly Resolution No 95, before and during the Iraq War 2003 - 2005.

We are concerned that, should these breaches be established, those responsible should be held to account. This is urgent. It appears that many breaches, even now, are continuing to take place.

Submitted by:

  • Tony Benn
  • Mrs Rose Gentle MFSO mum of Gordon Gentle killed in Iraq 28:7:04
  • Reg Keys
  • Harold Pinter
  • Prof. Richard Dawkins
  • Bruce Kent
  • Lindsey German, Convenor Stop The War Coalition
  • Michael Mansfield QC
  • Corin Redgrave
  • Jemma Redgrave
  • Andrew Burgin
  • Mark Steel
  • Brian Sewell, Columnist on the London "Evening Standard"
  • Professor Ted Honderich
  • Dr Martha Mundy, Reader in Anthropology, LSE
  • David Halpin FRCS
  • Sara Wood
  • Nicholas Wood RIBA FRGS
  • Andreas Whittam Smith
  • Lord Nicolas Rea
  • Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon
  • Peter Day
  • Anabella Pellens
  • Nicolas Kent, Theatre Director
  • Alan Plater
  • Jonathan Price
  • Willy Russell, Writer
  • Ralph Steadman
  • Anna Steadman
  • Dr C.J. Burns-Cox, Consultant Physician MD FRCP
  • Michael Naish
  • Richard Gott
  • Celia Mitchell
  • Adrian Mitchell
  • Una Doyle, NUT
  • Geoff Evans Bsc Hons Dip LP
  • Dr Margaret Evans PhD BSc Hons
  • David Levitt
  • David Gentleman, Artist
  • Julian Rea
  • Sylvester McCoy
  • Alex Salmond MP, Leader SNP


We allege that the breaches committed by the UK Government and the USA in coalition partnership during the period 2002 - 2005 outlined as a selection in summary are as follows:-

  1. Crimes Against Peace: Planning and Conducting an Aggressive War using deceit, including deliberately falsifying reports to arouse passion in support of this war .

  2. Failure to ensure public order and safety by disbanding the army and police of Iraq, without properly replacing those functions.

  3. Extensive destruction of service infrastructure, including drinking water, sewage systems, telephones and electricity supply, with grave consequences to the inhabitants of Iraq, especially in hospitals.

  4. Deliberate damage to hospitals and medical facilities and personnel including the shooting up of Red Crescent ambulances, and prevention of movement of ambulances.

  5. Failure to prohibit looting and arson resulting in the despoliation and pillage of museums, libraries, archaeological sites, hospitals, administrative buildings and state records.

  6. Failure to respect cultural property including the use of the Babylon archaeological site as a military camp.

  7. Economic exploitation of occupied territories by orders of The Provisional Coalition Administration to the benefit of foreign interests, including the use of Production Sharing Agreements, and IMF rules, even though warnings were made by the Attorney General that these may be construed as contrary to International Law.

  8. Seizing botanical assets by Provisional Coalition Administration Order 81, which ends the prohibition of private ownership of biological resources, and introduces foreign monopoly rights over seeds.

  9. Political persecution by initially sacking all Baath Party members, thereby very severely reducing the administrative and professional class who had been obliged to be members.

  10. Religious persecution: US Defence Secretary memo of 2 December 2002 sanctioned the use of religious humiliation against detainees.

  11. Use of cable ties as a restraint to detainees' wrists causing injury and unnecessary suffering .

  12. Use of hooding detainees, wilfully causing mental suffering, especially when used for prolonged periods, or when combined with assault.

  13. Use of dogs as a means of obtaining information authorised by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 Dec 2002.

  14. Forcing detainees to stand for many hours as a means of obtaining information authorised by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 December 2002, and practised at Abhu Ghraib and other US prisons.

  15. Sexual and bodily humiliation of detainees, including rapes, and stripping naked for long periods.

  16. Aggressive patrolling with indiscriminate mass arrests of males, including 14 year olds, indiscriminate destruction of property, and invasion of women's' quarters contrary to tenets of the Koran.

  17. Killing and wounding treacherously by indiscriminate shooting at check points, strafing of groups of obvious civilians, and disproportionate use of force in residential areas.

  18. Degrading treatment of detainees by marking foreheads and bodies with indelible marker pens as a means of identification and control.

  19. Use of cluster bombs on grounds of military expediency. As well as being munitions causing random unnecessary suffering by steel spicules, incendiary and depleted uranium bomblets, a large number don't explode, effectively becoming land mines.

  20. Use of depleted uranium shells, on the grounds of military expediency, causing a very long term legacy of radioactive damage to the environment, cancers and birth defects.

  21. Use of white phosphorous (WP) chemical munitions.

  22. Collective penalties in Fallujah during the first assault of April 2004 when 1,000 Iraqis including 600 women and children were killed.

  23. Evacuation of Fallujah, ( a city nearly the size of Cardiff) in preparation for a second disproportionate assault in November 2004, which employed the use of starvation and thirst on an entire population, targeting of hospitals, medical staff and ambulances, indiscriminate shooting of non combatants and destruction of private and state property

  24. Failure to keep a proper record of POW names and locations.

  25. Failure to treat POWs humanely, especially those held in the open in the sun.

  26. Abolition of Habeas Corpus: holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without charge or trial over an indefinite period:

  27. Failure to record Iraqi deaths and injuries with consequent failure to determine proportionality or medical requirements of survivors. Also causing unnecessary suffering to relatives of the deceased.

  28. Unilaterally holding that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to certain actions, especially to the use of private security contractors, and mercenaries and to the detention of certain types of enemy combatants.


Much of the evidence for these actions, which we believe are contrary to International Law, are now in the public domain: for instance: The Secret memo from David Manning to The Prime Minister dated 14 March 2002, The Confidential and Personal memo from The British Ambassador to the USA to the Prime Minister dated 18 March 2002. Clare Short's book "Honourable Deception?" Greg Dyke's "Inside Story", Robert Fisk's " The Great War for Civilisation", President Chirac's interview of 10 March 2003, Hansard, the British Museum sponsored book on the looting of Iraq's National Museum and use of Babylon as a US base, the report on the destruction of "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" by Dahr Jamail, Lee Gordon's eye witness account in 'Camden New Journal' of the shooting up of ambulances in Fallujah, The Peacerights Report of the Inquiry into the alleged Commission of War Crimes by Coalition Forces in The Iraq War During 2003 ", The Rumsfeld memo of 2 December 2003, gun film footage of the F16 strike against civilians in Fallujah, photographs of mistreatment of POWs at Abhu Ghraib.

More detailed evidence for all these atrocities will be provided by us if so required.


Tony Benn,

7th December 2005


Latest updates:
Dec 28: Former policeman shot dead in Baghdad
Dec 28: Three by missile in Tikrit
Dec 28: Two by car bomb in Samarra
Dec 27: Four in clashes in Baghdad
Dec 27: Two police by roadside bomb, south of Baghdad
Dec 27: 3 bodies found tortured, shot in Shu'la, Baghdad
Dec 27: Interior Ministry official, Al-Yarmouk, Baghdad
Dec 27: Tanker truck driver by bomb, south of Kirkuk
Dec 27: TV station employee, Al-Saydiyah, Baghdad
Dec 26: Father driving children to school, Baghdad
Dec 26: Three in house raid, southern Baghdad
Dec 26: Shiite cleric shot dead in Najaf Dec 26: Bodyguard of governor in Baquba
Dec 26: One by car bomb in Kirkuk
Dec 26: 1-2 by motorcycle bomb, east Baghdad
Dec 26: Shiite councillor in Baquba Dec 26: Policeman by roadside bomb, Al-Mahawil
Dec 26: 4-5 by car bombs in Baghdad
Dec 25: Bank official shot dead in Baghdad
Dec 25: Ministry of Health employee, Hurriya, Baghdad
Dec 25: 2 by car bomb in Kirkuk Dec 25: One by car bomb in Kirkuk
Dec 24: 3 Health Ministry employees, Doura, Baghdad
Dec 24: Four in rocket attack, Talayeb, nr. Samarra
Dec 24: Policeman in Mosul Dec 24: Three in mortar attack, Samarra
Dec 24: 2 in attack on convoy, Dora, Baghdad
Dec 24: Three police by motorcycle bomb, Baquba
Dec 25: Policeman by roadside bomb in Mosul
Dec 26: One at petrol station, Kirkuk Dec 26: Lecturer in Salam, Baghdad
Dec 26: One by car bomb, central Baghdad
Dec 25: Interior Ministry worker in western Baghdad
Dec 24: Two shot in shop, Mansour, Baghdad
Dec 22: Four by roadside bomb in Samarra
Dec 22: Four shot dead in Iskandariyah.


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