News Release

War Crimes?


“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
— International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, 1946

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”
— U.N. Charter (Chapter I, Article 2)

“It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as … drinking water installations and supplies.”
— Geneva Conventions (Additional Protocol I, Article 54)

Normand is executive director and Zaidi is research director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights. The group recently released two reports: “Tearing Up the Rules: The Illegality of Invading Iraq” and “Water Under Siege in Iraq: United States and British Military Forces Commit War Crimes in Iraq by Depriving Civilians of Access to Water.” The second report analyzes the U.S. military attacks on the infrastructure of Iraq in 1991 and the current attacks on Basra and Baghdad, cities which have had infrastructure taken out. The report notes that in 1991: “By disabling electricity and water, the U.S. intended to pressure the Iraqi leadership by imposing widespread suffering on the civilian population. Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson, the architect of the U.S. air war, stated that one purpose of the bombing was to ‘put every household in an autonomous mode and make them feel they were isolated… I wanted to play with their psyche.’ Another U.S. Air Force planner explained that ‘we wanted to let people know, “we’re not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that and we’ll fix your electricity.”‘”
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Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley said today: “Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power has the obligation of ‘ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population.’ If news reports of the U.S. military conditioning the delivery of food supplies on Iraqis providing information are true, that is a violation of international law.”

President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner said today: “This war is an aggressive war and is flatly contrary to international law. It is neither in self-defense nor has it been authorized by the Security Council. That makes it a crime against peace.”

April 4, 2003

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858