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Bush and Cheney Tried for War Crimes when Kerry Wins?

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 06:28 am
Re: War Crimes
Debra_Law wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
. . . .The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Charter. That document recognizes that "nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations" (art. 51). Thus, the right of self defense is specifically conditioned on the occurrence of an armed attack -- no armed attack, no right to self defense. Instead, if there is a dispute between two member nations (such as the US and Iraq), they must seek peaceful means of resolving their dispute (art. 33). If those means fail, they are to bring their dispute to the Security Council (art. 37), which is to make recommendations, including referring the dispute to the World Court (art. 36). Only if its recommendations are inadequate or ineffective is the Security Council then permitted to authorize coercion (art. 41) or force (art. 42) as a means of resolving the dispute.

In the case of the present conflict, the US was never attacked by Iraq. As such, the US had no claim to a right of self defense, under article 51 of the UN Charter, as a pretext to attack Iraq. It was, therefore, obligated to seek peaceful means to resolve the dispute, and, if necessary, to refer the dispute to the UN for resolution. The US submitted the dispute to the UN, but the UN Security Council never authorized the use of force (pursuant to article 42 of the Charter) for resolving the dispute. Indeed, the US never sought UN authorization for its use of force, despite Bush's promise to the contrary.

The US is obligated, both by international law and the US constitution, to abide by the terms of its treaties. The UN Charter is such a treaty. The attack on Iraq, therefore, violated the terms of the UN Charter. And since the US was the aggressor, and the war was a breach of the peace, the invasion constituted a war of aggression and a crime against the peace. Furthermore, pursuant to the precedent set by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, the leaders of a nation that has waged a war of aggression are directly culpable for the resulting war crimes.

The conclusion, therefore, is obvious: George Bush, in launching a war of aggression in contravention of binding international treaties, is guilty of a crime against peace, and he should be held accountable for that crime.
. . .


I agree with Joe. The president is not immune to a prosecution for war crimes. See, e.g., the following:

Former president to face war crimes court

Quote:
January 17 2003. Serbian officials will hand over former president Milan Milutinovic to the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague, the Yugoslav foreign minister said yesterday.

Goran Svilanovic told the Blic daily newspaper that he and Milutinovic agreed on the terms of his surrender to the court, which has charged him with war crimes during a government crackdown against Kosovo Albanians in 1999.

Svilanovic did not say when he could be handed over. He said he hoped the UN tribunal would set Milutinovic free pending the start of his trial partly because of his poor health.

Milutinovic has had two heart operations in recent years.

Though regarded as merely a figurehead, Milutinovic, who was Serbia's president from 1997 until last month, was a member of the inner circle of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Milutinovic has denied he had any role in war crimes in Kosovo, saying that he had no control over the Serb-led security forces in the southern Yugoslav province.

Any testimony he might offer could prove damaging to Milosevic, who is facing genocide and other war crimes charges before the UN court.


President Bush ordered a preemptive attack against Iraq in violation of a treaty (the supreme law of the Land.) He broke the law, plunged our country into war, and must be held accountable. The U.N. War Crimes Tribunal ought to be demanding Bush's surrender.


Perhaps not LEGALLY immune - but, sadly - PRACTICALLY immune - no?

Unless your own courts were to do it?

As far as I know the US has, very deliberately, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of any world court - at least when it comes to subjecting itself, rather than any other country, to its powers?

If so, how does this gel with its supporting Milosevic's trial???
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 07:02 am
Yeah, what that rabbit said.

Who would file the charges?
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 09:32 am
Re: Constitution
Debra_Law wrote:
Ticomaya wrote:
I sincerely doubt a reasonable reading of the Constitution would require the US to abide by the terms of a treaty if to do so would not be in the best interests of national security.


United States Constitution:

Article. VI.

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.


I am by no means an international law expert. Therefore, if my analysis is wrong, I will accept correction as appropriate.

However, treaties are contracts between sovereign nations. It would seem to me the fact that a treaty bears the full force and effect of law does not elevate it to a status that would require the US to abide by its terms should it be contrary to the national security interests of the US to do so. In any event, you and I both know that the US has in the past violated treaties it has entered into. Thus, I question whether the fact that the US violates a treaty, in and of itself, causes the actions of the government in violating the treaty to rise to the level of a "war crime."
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 09:48 am
Re: War Crimes
dlowan wrote:
Perhaps not LEGALLY immune - but, sadly - PRACTICALLY immune - no?

Well, we'll never know unless we try.

dlowan wrote:
Unless your own courts were to do it?

Highly unlikely.

dlowan wrote:
As far as I know the US has, very deliberately, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of any world court - at least when it comes to subjecting itself, rather than any other country, to its powers?

If so, how does this gel with its supporting Milosevic's trial???

The US is a member of the World Court (International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague), and it occasionally adheres to its decisions. The US, however, has rejected membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), which its founders had hoped to make a permanent forum for trying all future war crimes and other crimes against humanity.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2004 10:40 am
Imagine, if the PresNiteStates were prevented from travel abroad lest he/ she be arrested and charged with crimes.
And, four years ago, who in the world would have had a thought like that? GWB, you have a lot to answer for.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2004 12:28 am
Well, I think Johnson and Nixon were considered by many to be guilty of war crimes, were they not?

(Thanks for clearing up my dumb confusion, Joe - now - what does the US see as the difference between the two courts????)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2004 09:14 am
dlowan wrote:
Well, I think Johnson and Nixon were considered by many to be guilty of war crimes, were they not?

Yes, but there has been a much broader movement, around the world, to apprehend and try war criminals and those who commit crimes against humanity. The Pinochet case was probably the turning point for that movement, because it opened up the possibility of trying national leaders in other countries.

dlowan wrote:
(Thanks for clearing up my dumb confusion, Joe - now - what does the US see as the difference between the two courts????)

The ICJ is really intended to settle disputes between nations. As such, it really doesn't get into war crimes or crimes against humanity. The ICC, on the other hand, is specifically intended to try these kinds of crimes. As it states in its charter:
    1. The jurisdiction of the Court shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes: (a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression.
That means that the ICC would have jurisdiction over individuals who commit crimes, in contrast to the ICJ, which exerts jurisdiction over nations. That also means that the ICC would have the power to punish individuals, including imprisoning them, which is beyond the competence of the ICJ.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2004 10:47 pm
Thank you again!
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2004 11:06 pm
I suppose, given its premise, that this thread is now moot.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Nov, 2004 09:37 am
Ticomaya wrote:
I suppose, given its premise, that this thread is now moot.

Not moot, just held in abeyance for four years.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Nov, 2004 09:50 am
<Would "abeyance" be the correct translation for the German legal term 'Wiedervorlage", Joe?>
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:15 am
Walter: I don't know. I don't have a German law dictionary, and I'm not very familiar with German legal terminology, so I don't know what "wiedervorlage" means in that context. My dictionaries are no help: one says that "in abeyance" is equivalent to "unentscheiden," which I think is inaccurate. "Abeyance" is not "undecided," it's more like "to be decided later."
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:26 am
hold in abeyance = ruhen lassen

At least according to www.dict.cc
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:55 am
"on the back burner", we say.

"to be decided later" is good. "Held over."
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 10:12 am
wiedervorlage = hold file

Not sure what that means.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 10:13 am
Thanks!

Since 'Wiedervorlage' in the German legal sense is unknown (it means, you did something in a file, want tp look at it again, and mark 'Wiedervorlage' with a specific date on that dossier.

Resubmission, follow-up, hold-file and reminder are the terms, I've found
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2004 06:29 pm
Just an update:

Should Canada Indict Bush?
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2004 06:56 pm
Boy, that would sure be a good way to end an otherwise nice relationship.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2011 10:43 am
@McGentrix,
Quote:
Boy, that would sure be a good way to end an otherwise nice relationship.


Yeah, McG, why would you want anyone to offer any support whatsoever for the rule of law?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2011 10:47 am
@joefromchicago,
Just an update - the old link is dead.

Quote:
Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 by the Toronto Star
Should Canada Indict Bush?
by Thomas Walkom

When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa � probably later this year � should he be welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes?

It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada's ineffectual laws in line with the rules of the new International Criminal Court. While never tested, it lays out sweeping categories under which a foreign leader like Bush could face arrest.

In particular, it holds that anyone who commits a war crime, even outside Canada, may be prosecuted by our courts. What is a war crime? According to the statute, it is any conduct defined as such by "customary international law" or by conventions that Canada has adopted.

War crimes also specifically include any breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, such as torture, degradation, wilfully depriving prisoners of war of their rights "to a fair and regular trial," launching attacks "in the knowledge that such attacks will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians" and deportation of persons from an area under occupation.

Outside of one well-publicized (and quickly squelched) attempt in Belgium, no one has tried to formally indict Bush. But both Oxfam International and the U.S. group Human Rights Watch have warned that some of the actions undertaken by the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Iraq, may fall under the war crime rubric.

The case for the prosecution looks quite promising. First, there is the fact of the Iraq war itself. After 1945, Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo � in an astonishing precedent � ruled that states no longer had the unfettered right to invade other countries and that leaders who started such conflicts could be tried for waging illegal war.

Concurrently, the new United Nations outlawed all aggressive wars except those authorized by its Security Council.

Today, a strong case could be made that Bush violated the Nuremberg principles by invading Iraq. Indeed, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has already labelled that war illegal in terms of the U.N. Charter.

Second, there is the manner in which the U.S. conducted this war.

The mistreatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison is a clear contravention of the Geneva Accord. The U.S. is also deporting selected prisoners to camps outside of Iraq (another contravention). U.S. press reports also talk of shadowy prisons in Jordan run by the CIA, where suspects are routinely tortured. And the estimated civilian death toll of 100,000 may well contravene the Geneva Accords prohibition against the use of excessive force.

Canada's war crimes law specifically permits prosecution not only of those who carry out such crimes but of the military and political superiors who allow them to happen.

What has emerged since Abu Ghraib shows that officials at the highest levels of the Bush administration permitted and even encouraged the use of torture.

Given that Bush, as he likes to remind everyone, is the U.S. military's commander-in-chief, it is hard to argue he bears no responsibility.

Then there is Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. says detainees there do not fall under the Geneva accords. That's an old argument.

In 1946, Japanese defendants explained their mistreatment of prisoners of war by noting that their country had never signed any of the Geneva Conventions. The Japanese were convicted anyway.

Oddly enough, Canada may be one of the few places where someone like Bush could be brought to justice. Impeachment in the U.S. is most unlikely. And, at Bush's insistence, the new international criminal court has no jurisdiction over any American.

But a Canadian war crimes charge, too, would face many hurdles. Bush was furious last year when Belgians launched a war crimes suit in their country against him � so furious that Belgium not only backed down under U.S. threats but changed its law to prevent further recurrences.

As well, according to a foreign affairs spokesperson, visiting heads of state are immune from prosecution when in Canada on official business. If Ottawa wanted to act, it would have to wait until Bush was out of office � or hope to catch him when he comes up here to fish.

And, of course, Canada's government would have to want to act. War crimes prosecutions are political decisions that must be authorized by the federal attorney-general.

Still, Prime Minister Paul Martin has staked out his strong opposition to war crimes. This was his focus in a September address to the U.N. General Assembly.

There, Martin was talking specifically about war crimes committed by militiamen in far-off Sudan. But as my friends on the Star's editorial board noted in one of their strong defences of concerted international action against war crimes, the rule must be, "One law for all."

Thomas Walkom writes every Tuesday for the Toronto Star Tribune.

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1116-27.htm
0 Replies
 
 

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