News Release

* Mideast ‘Roadmap’ * War Over? * War Crimes * AIDS Fund

ELAINE HAGOPIAN
Professor emerita at Simmons College, Hagopian said today: “The ‘roadmap’ is largely a façade so the Bush administration looks like it is doing something for peace. It is a great deal like Oslo, which was similarly not really rooted in international law and ended in shambles. Still, Oslo did succeed in ending the first Palestinian intifada, which is likely Sharon’s goal here — to end the second one.”

JULES LOBEL
Professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Pittsburgh, Lobel said today: “Bush’s anticipated statement tonight of declaring combat over, but not hostilities, furthers his policy of permanent war. By saying that we are in a continuous state of hostilities, it allows him to exercise extraordinary war powers. POWs can continue to be held, the congressional war powers continue, hostilities in Iraq can be used as pretext to possibly attack other countries or an excuse to further clamp down on civil liberties in the United States; it will also be used to justify crimes that might be committed by U.S. troops in Iraq.”

JAN FERMON
A lawyer in Belgium representing Iraqi civilians, Fermon is preparing a complaint accusing U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks of war crimes. Fermon said today: “These 19 people who have come forward have been victims of obvious violations of international humanitarian law and want justice to be done. They want an independent inquiry and I’m surprised by the Bush administration reaction; are they arguing that they are above the law? Belgian law does not allow me to file complaints against heads of government or ministers in office; however, military personnel do not have any kind of immunity. Command responsibility exists for those who committed war crimes as well as those who ordered them or failed to take actions to prevent them.” Fermon cited the U.S. bombing of residential areas, use of cluster bombs where there is a civilian population and firing at clearly marked Red Cross vehicles.

SALIH BOOKER
Executive director of Africa Action, Booker has focused on the AIDS pandemic. He said today: “The administration has signaled support for the Hyde Bill authorizing $3 billion for global AIDS in FY2004 — earmarking up to $1 billion for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. While that’s a welcome improvement over President Bush’s own request, it still falls short both in scope and method. A minimum equitable contribution by the U.S. would be $3.5 billion annually with all the money going into the Global Fund rather than most of it being controlled unilaterally by the White House. The Global Fund is an innovative model of global cooperation to fight common threats to humanity — combining transparency, accountability and a bottom-up, needs-driven approach. Instead of undermining this breakthrough, the Bush administration should strengthen it and apply it to other global problems such as the environment.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167