News Release

Interviews Available: Bush vs. International Law?


“International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.”
— George W. Bush, responding yesterday to a question about U.S. policy in Iraq violating international law

Ferencz was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials for Nazi war crimes after World War II and is available for a limited number of interviews. He said today: “It’s a sad commentary when the president of the United States has apparently no knowledge or concern for international law. We said at Nuremberg that we would be bound by laws — that they would apply equally to all. But it’s a violation of international law to go to war without the approval of the [U.N.] Security Council when you are not under armed attack. The U.S. has violated that in its attack on Iraq, as well as other times. The Bush administration has repudiated the International Criminal Court, when over 90 nations want to carry on the legacy of the Nuremberg tribunals, but the administration is trying to cripple it in its cradle.”
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Docherty is a researcher in the arms division at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the just-released report “Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq,” which examines the actions of U.S., British and Iraqi militaries in Iraq. Docherty said today: “Cluster bombs used by the U.S. killed or wounded more than 1,000 civilians in Iraq. This raises serious concerns under international law.”
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Williams is the 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate for her work on the Mine Ban Treaty, which now has 141 states as parties and an additional nine signatories, but not the United States. She said today: “The U.S. military dropped 1.8 million cluster bomblets in Iraq. Most of course have exploded, but with a failure rate of some 5-10 percent too many duds remain active. They are more difficult to deal with in some ways than landmines and often much more lethal…. Mr. Bush’s sarcastic comments about international law yesterday when discussing barring some countries from bidding for U.S. reconstruction contracts for Iraq exemplified the administration’s ‘my way or the highway’ approach to diplomacy. It’s particularly curious when he has just dispatched James Baker to try to get other countries to forgive Iraq’s debt that Bush would make a move to further alienate other countries. We’ve got to understand that there are 191 countries in the world, not just one.”
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Normand is executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights and co-author of the report “Tearing Up the Rules: The Illegality of Invading Iraq.” He said today: “By expressing contempt for international law, President Bush is simply confirming a policy of dismantling the post World War II legal order so that the United States can exercise a new and open form of imperial rule unconstrained by recognized principles of justice.”

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