from ProjectCensored Website
In October 2009, under great pressure from the United States, the government of Spain decided to limit its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, thus closing one of the last windows of accountability for the most serious crimes committed by the most powerful nations on Earth.
Under international law, such crimes fall under the
universal jurisdiction of any nation, whether one’s own citizens are victims
or not. The logic is that crimes against humanity are offenses against every
member of the human species - a crime against all.
Most of the lawsuits have been against individuals linked to the untouchable political right, such as,
Calls to reign in the judges increased when Spanish magistrates announced
probes involving Israel and the United States.
In March 2009, Baltasar Garzón, Spain’s most high-profile judge, invoked the principle of universal jurisdiction when he sought to investigate six former Bush administration officials for giving legal cover to torture in the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
And in May 2009, another Spanish
Santiago Pedraz, declared he would charge three US
soldiers with crimes against humanity for the April 2003 deaths of a Spanish
television cameraman and a Ukrainian journalist. The men were killed when a
US tank crew shelled their Baghdad hotel.
China has warned Spain that
bilateral relations could be damaged over a case regarding Tibet, and
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Spain that it risks
being sidelined in the Middle East peace process.
raised expectations of Spanish voters with the promise he can forge warm
ties to the Obama administration. Indeed, other European leaders have
distanced themselves from the Spanish position, fearful of jeopardizing
future relations with Washington.
CCR determines that, because of the nature of the alleged crimes and Spain’s obligations as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture in particular, Spain should retain jurisdiction over this case.
One day before the change in Spanish law, a number of members of the BRussells Tribunal, acting under the umbrella of the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq, filed charges of crimes against humanity and genocide against four presidents of the United States and four prime ministers of Great Britain.
The charges cite 1.5 million Iraqi deaths over the course of nineteen years of American and British attacks, including two full-scale wars of aggression, the “most draconian sanctions regime ever designed,” and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
Half a million of the dead,
according to the charges, were children.
They have promoted and engaged in the massive plunder of Iraqi natural resources, attempting to privatize the property and wealth of the Iraqi nation.
So massive and systematic were the
assaults on Iraq, stretching for roughly a generation, the accusers charge
the US and the UK with the deliberate destruction of a nation.
The suit holds that each has played a key role in Iraq’s intended destruction - that they instigated, supported, condoned, rationalized, executed and/or perpetuated, or excused this destruction based on lies and narrow strategic and economic interests, and against the will of their own people.
The BRussels Tribunal asserts that allowing those
responsible to escape accountability means such actions could be repeated
The United States
refuses to join the International Criminal Court, and thus claims immunity
The impunity with which the United States and Britain caused the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and the displacement of 4.7 million more during two decades of uninterrupted aggression (1990 to present), is eclipsed in scale of slaughter by the genocide in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
An estimated 6 million Congolese have died since the main US
proxies in the region, Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s ruling
Tutsi military, poured across the DRC’s borders in pursuit of approximately
1 million Rwandan Hutus displaced in the 1994 Rwandan civil war, including
the defeated Hutu militia.
corporate media, led by
their collective noses by the US State Department, find genocidaires lurking
everywhere in Africa except among the US proxies in Kampala and Kigali.
...as global enforcer of ICC indictments.
The US refuses to join the ICC, for fear it might be prosecuted for its own crimes (only the 111 nations that have ratified the treaty fall under its jurisdiction).
Yet ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo openly lobbies
for the US to head up a “coalition of the willing” to deploy “special
forces” as the enforcement arm of the Hague-based court.
The US also sees no contradiction in acting as enforcer of international laws it neither respects nor recognizes as binding.
Stephen Rapp, US ambassador at large for war crimes, said Washington,
The US was the center of attention, although officially only an observer, at the ICC’s latest conference (May 31–June 11) in Kamala, Uganda.
Washington remains, of course, unalterably opposed
to any limits on its superpower prerogatives, but welcomes Moreno-Ocampo’s
invitation to enforce the ICC’s highly selective indictments.
cannot possibly be served.
Our case spans nineteen years, including thirteen years of sanctions proven to have an overwhelmingly destructive impact on Iraqi public health, and the launching of an illegal war of aggression against Iraq based on deliberate falsification and systematic efforts to hide from the general public, in the US, the UK, and elsewhere, the true objectives of the war.
Sanctions led to an estimated 1.5 million excess Iraqi deaths, including 500,000 children under five.
To date, estimates of violent deaths
among Iraqis post-2003 run to 1.2 million. Some 5 million Iraqis have been
displaced inside and outside the country - a fifth of the entire population.
Only the alternative media carried our press releases, and only those who listen to alternative media heard of the case. The mainstream continued to propagate the lie - supposedly a criticism - that the US-led foray into Iraq was a blunder. But it was not a blunder. Nor did the US wander blind into a quagmire.
Our case charts the synchronicity of crimes committed - including the destruction of civil infrastructure, indiscriminate bombing and use of depleted uranium, and promotion of sectarianism and corruption, destruction of state institutions, urbicide, plunder, promotion of torture - all leading to, and resulting in, the intended destruction of the Iraqi state and nation. The humanitarian disaster that is present-day Iraq was an end in itself.
This is what the mainstream media cannot say and
The new law, imposed retroactively, led to the closing of our case and others. Though Spanish courts had been open to hearing human rights grievances from those unable to find redress in their own countries or by other means, and though Spain had been taking a lead role in efforts to address impunity in international affairs, that window closed, virtually without comment. In real terms, our case was censored.
But not only our case that was censored: in effect, Iraq,
too, has been censored.
The war on Iraq is not only an attack on a sovereign country, it is a frontal attack on international law. If the destruction of Iraq goes unaccounted for, what is happening to Iraq could happen anywhere.
Thus we remain committed to working toward the prosecution of crimes in Iraq perpetrated by the US and the UK. Though Spain had been the clearest route for legal redress, new routes can be opened.
Just as we look for allies in this work, we are ready to assist
similar initiatives taken up by others.