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Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor

OneWorld US
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 25 (OneWorld) - A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.

Ferencz said that after Nuremberg the international community realized that every war results in violations by both sides, meaning the primary objective should be preventing any war from occurring in the first place.

He said the atrocities of the Iraq war--from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of dozens of civilians by U.S. forces in Haditha to the high number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent car bombs--were highly predictable at the start of the war.

Which wars should be prosecuted?
Which wars should be prosecuted?
"Every war will lead to attacks on civilians," he said. "Crimes against humanity, destruction beyond the needs of military necessity, rape of civilians, plunder--that always happens in wartime. So my answer personally, after working for 60 years on this problem and [as someone] who hates to see all these young people get killed no matter what their nationality, is that you've got to stop using warfare as a means of settling your disputes."

Ferencz believes the most important development toward that end would be the effective implementation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is located in the Hague, Netherlands.

The court was established in 2002 and has been ratified by more than 100 countries. It is currently being used to adjudicate cases stemming from conflict in Darfur, Sudan and civil wars in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But on May 6, 2002--less than a year before the invasion of Iraq--the Bush administration withdrew the United States' signature on the treaty and began pressuring other countries to approve bilateral agreements requiring them not to surrender U.S. nationals to the ICC.

Three months later, George W. Bush signed a new law prohibiting any U.S. cooperation with the International Criminal Court. The law went so far as to include a provision authorizing the president to "use all means necessary and appropriate," including a military invasion of the Netherlands, to free U.S. personnel detained or imprisoned by the ICC.

That's too bad, according to Ferencz. If the United States showed more of an interest in building an international justice system, they could have put Saddam Hussein on trial for his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"The United Nations authorized the first Gulf War and authorized all nations to take whatever steps necessary to keep peace in the area," he said. "They could have stretched that a bit by seizing the person for causing the harm. Of course, they didn't do that and ever since then I've been bemoaning the fact that we didn't have an International Criminal Court at that time."

Ferencz is glad that Saddam Hussein is now on trial.

Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein. Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep
This week, the Iraqi government began to try the former dictator for crimes connected to his ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kurds. According to Human Rights Watch, which has done extensive on-the-ground documentation, Saddam's Ba'athist regime deliberately and systematically killed at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds over a six-month period in 1988.

Kurdish authorities put the number even higher, saying 182,000 Kurdish civilians were killed in a matter of months.

Everyone agrees innumerable villages were bombed and some were gassed. The surviving residents were rounded up, taken to detention centers, and eventually executed at remote sites, sometimes by being stripped and shot in the back so they would fall naked into trenches.

In his defense, Saddam Hussein has disputed the extent of the killings and maintained they were justified because he was fighting a counter-insurgency operation against Kurdish separatists allied with Iran. When asked to enter a plea, the former president said "that would require volumes of books."

Ferencz said whatever Saddam's reasons, nothing can justify the mass killing of innocents.

"The offenses attributable to ex-president Hussein since he came to power range from the supreme international crime of aggression to a wide variety of crimes against humanity," he wrote after Saddam was ousted in 2003. "A fair trial will achieve many goals. The victims would find some satisfaction in knowing that their victimizer was called to account and could no longer be immune from punishment for his evil deeds. Wounds can begin to heal. The historical facts can be confirmed beyond doubt. Similar crimes by other dictators might be discouraged or deterred in future. The process of justice through law, on which the safety of humankind depends, would be reinforced."

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Comment List


Time: 08/26/2006 22:32

Comment: The following experts have all used the word "war crimes" to describe the use by President Bush of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan: Dr. Asaf Durakovic, former head of Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, and founder of the Uranium Medical Research Center; Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, British trained head of Oncology at the largest hospital in Basra; Dr. Doug Rokke, head of the DU Clean-up Project for the U.S. Military for Gulf War I; Dr. Amhad Hardan; W.H.O. expert on DU who has studied its effects for nearly 10 years; Also, a tribunal in Japan found Bush guilty of War Crimes for authorizing the use of DU weapons; a similar tribunal in Canada is trying to do the same thing.

These experts all estimate that there will be countless extra cases of cancer as well as severe birth defects, due to DU. Dr. Al-Ali knows of numerous families with mulitple cancer cases; in his wife's family there are nine. How many families do you know in the U.S. where nine people all get cancer at the same time?

I have tons of other info at

"Impeach the bush adminstration!"

Author: Afi James
Time: 08/26/2006 18:38

Comment: Not only bush should stand on trial for war crimes, but the adminstration as well.

"Bush and saddamn both should stand trial."

Author: B V
Time: 08/26/2006 06:21

Comment: This war began in 1953 when the united states government overthrew the democratically elected leader of iran for daring to nationalize his countries oil supply and installing a dictator who proved to be extremely cruel to the irainian people. The united states government has meddled in middle eastern affairs ever since. The u,s government went to war with iraq knowing darn well that they possessed no weapons of mass destruction. Even if they had possessed them, they would have been our weapons, just as israels nukes are weapons that the U,S taxpayer bought and paid for. Send bush to trial and let him answer for the war crimes he's committed, and then imprison him for the rest of his life.

"War Crime Tribunal"

Time: 08/25/2006 23:50

Comment: It is a shame that we the people of the United States are seen as being supportive of what President Bush does in the world. I realize that most people in this country of ours are blind and ignorant. We are feed a lot of lies via our government supported and controlled media. "Since all is well at my home I need loook no furthur" is how most people live here and it is why we have such a government. It is for this reason that the people here are so afraid of anyone from the middle east. We have been shown just enough to make us think that there are nothing but terrorist in the middle east and that we should walk around afraid. We should give up our rights so that the president can protect us. What a bunch of craziness. There is nothing to fear from the people. We should be afraid of our own leadership.
I completely agree that the US President should be tried in a world court and held accountable for his crimes. I cannot believe that we are still such a barbaric people that we would seek to have it our way by being a bully and literally exterminating anyone that stands in the way. What are we teaching our children? How is this Christian?
In our cores we all want to be loved and to have peace and good health. Every person on this planet wants that. It is our most basic desire. If people like President Bush and his team are not held accountable then we as a people will never have our most basic desires. Eventually even the people in the US will wake up and realize that they are prisoners to this system that has been put into place in America. When that happens maybe we can finally have world peace. Maybe then we will elect people that are not afraid to answer for their actions. Maybe then we can have leaders that care for more than their personal wealth. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

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