The World Tribunal on Iraq: A Call for Justice
The BRussells Tribunal: Conclusions of the Commission
July 22, 2005
The World Tribunal on Iraq:
A Call for Justice
A war of aggression was launched in spite of the opposition of people and governments from around the world. However, no court or authority has taken action against the misconduct of the US and its allies. If the official authorities fail, then an authority derived from universal morals and human rights principles can speak for the world.
|Members of the World Tribunal on Iraq convene in Brussels.|
The investigation of what happened in Iraq is of prime importance to restore truth and preserve our collective memory against the constant rewriting of history.
The Objectives of the WTI
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) is a worldwide undertaking to reclaim justice. It aims to record the severe wrongs, crimes and violations that were committed in the process leading up to the aggression against Iraq, during the war and throughout the ensuing occupation, that continue to be widespread to this day. It is our intention to also record the social, political, environmental and cultural devastation. In the end, the evidence gathered and presented at this tribunal will serve as a historical record that breaks the web of lies promulgated by the war coalition and its embedded press.
How Does the WTI Work?
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) is a worldwide initiative born out of the global outcry against the war in Iraq. It is a horizontal network of local groups worldwide that work together in a non- hierarchical system.
The project consists of commissions of inquiry and sessions held around the world investigating various issues related to the war on Iraq, such as the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and the role of the media1. In these sessions, a platform was provided for people from Iraq, as well as experts and activists to articulate their concerns and demands and to present their reports.
Participation in this effort comes from numerous individuals and groups around the world, while being endorsed by many non-governmental organisations and renowned names, including Noam Chomsky (world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist), Dennis Halliday (former assistant to the UN Secretary General and Director of the UN Humanitarian Aid Programme during a 34-year long career at the UN), and Prof. Richard Falk (UNESCO peace prize holder with over 30 books published on international law and human rights).
The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) aims to record the severe wrongs, crimes and violations that were committed in the process leading up to the aggression against Iraq, during the war and throughout the ensuing occupation, that continue to be widespread to this day. It is our intention to also record the social, political, environmental and cultural devastation. In the end, the evidence gathered and presented will serve as a historical record that breaks the web of lies promulgated by the war coalition and its embedded press.
WTI is a horizontal network of local groups and individuals worldwide that work together in a non-hierarchical system. The project consists of commissions of inquiry and sessions held around the world investigating various issues related to the war on Iraq, such as the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and the role of the media.
A Timeline of Global WTI Hearings
|A woman in Fallujah cries out in agony.|
Germany -- During 2003
London -- By INLAP, Peacerights, CND. A Legal Inquiry into the invasion and military occupation of Iraq.
Mumbai -- January 2004
Japan -- International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq (ICTI) as a member organization of WTI
Copenhagen -- March 30th, 2004
Brussels -- April 2004
New York -- May 2004
New York 2 -- by International Action Center August 26th, 2004
Hiroshima -- October 10-11, 2004
Stockholm -- November 13-14, 2004
South Korea -- December 11, 2004
Rome -- February 10-13, 2005
Genoa -- March, 5-6 2005
Lisbon -- March, 20th 2005
Spain -- May 2005
Istanbul -- June 23-27, 2005
On June 23rd to the 27th 2005, at the start of the third year of the occupation of Iraq, the culminating session took place in Istanbul.
For more information on the World Tribunal, go to the website at:www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=28
The BRussells Tribunal:
Conclusions of the Commission
BRUSSELLS (April 14-17, 2004) -- Consistent with the tradition of the 1967 Russell Tribunal on the Vietnam War and the work of the People's permanent tribunal and other similar tribunals such as the one held in Brussels in 1991, the BRussells Tribunal met on 14-17 April 2004. This Tribunal is the opening session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, a series of hearings scheduled to conclude in Istanbul in 2005.
The BRussells Tribunal focused on the programs and policies proposed by "The Project for the New American Century" (PNAC), a predominantly neo-conservative "think-tank" that has advocated global US hegemony, primarily through the threat or use of military power. The objective of the Tribunal, working as a commission of inquiry, was to establish whether there was a link between PNAC's proposals and the foreign and military strategy of the current US government, and the subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Commission also examined the impact of policies and programs advocated by PNAC on the stability and security of international relations.
To establish its findings and shape its report the Commission heard testimony from specialists on international affairs and witnesses knowledgeable about the current conditions in Iraq. The Commission also relied on PNAC's reports and official US government documents, as well as written analyses (*). The Commission came to the following conclusions:
First. The PNAC program consists of three main components: to establish US hegemony in the new century, relying primarily on military and technological superiority; to prevent the emergence of any competing global or regional powers by imposing what is sometimes termed a "Pax Americana"; to exercise pre-emptive action against all perceived threats to American "interests" and security.
Second. A significant number of signatories to PNAC's 1997 founding Statement of Principles" became senior members of the current US administration, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. The adoption of those principles by this administration is evidenced by official White House documents such as "The National Security Strategy" of September 2002. These principles have been put into action through the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Third. According to a clear majority of States and a large consensus of legal experts, the invasion of Iraq constitutes an act of aggression, a breach of one of the most fundamental norms of the international legal order. This demonstrates that the implementation of policies emanating from PNAC and endorsed by the current administration runs counter to the principles of the UN Charter and undermines the United Nations itself, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Fourth. The invasion of Iraq has resulted in more than 10.000 civilian deaths. With each passing day of occupation, the number of victims grows, as do the gross violations of humanitarian law and human rights, such as arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and deprivation in regard to basic needs. The situation of the Iraqi people has clearly deteriorated and the promises of democracy and freedom have proved to be illusory. The constant use of the words "democracy", "freedom" and "human rights" in such a context amounts to a complete perversion of those terms.
Fifth. Far from bringing stability and peace in Iraq and the region, the invasion and occupation have created instability and chaos. Moreover, the deliberate destruction of Iraq has effectively promoted the Israeli government's policies of further unlawful expansion and de facto annexation of territories as well as further annihilation of the rights of the Palestinian people. The Tribunal noted that PNAC itself called explicitly in 2002 for the US administration to align itself with the views of the Israeli government. These developments increase hostility between the peoples of the region and the West, contrary to the proclaimed objectives of making the world a safer place.
Sixth. There is evidence of a consistent US strategy, as envisioned by the PNAC report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defences", to establish global domination by military means. Contrary to claims that this domination would be a "benevolent hegemony", it is more likely to lead to a state of permanent war. PNAC policies are based on brutal unilateralism and disregard for legality. As such, the ideas of PNAC constitute an intellectual crime. The war in Iraq is only one element of a global agenda which is linked with logics of the dominant economic system, inspired by neo-conservative ideology and supported by religious fundamentalism.
Seventh. Due to the growing resistance encountered by the occupying powers in Iraq and other unanticipated difficulties, the United States and United Kingdom have made cynical requests for the involvement of the United Nations in Iraq, thereby pre-empting the sovereign rights of the Iraqi people to determine their future. The United Nations should avoid complicity with -- let alone legitimise in any way -- the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Any such action would further discredit this world body. The UN should restore its legitimacy through ensuring the complete withdrawal of all occupying forces and assisting the Iraqi people in recovering their full sovereignty. Any involvement of the European Union or of NATO to help the occupying powers should be refused.
Finally, the Tribunal calls upon the peoples of the world to demand that their governments deny military, political, financial or any other support to the occupying powers; and oppose the illegal implementation by occupation forces or their surrogates of any plans for the wholesale privatization of the Iraqi economy. The Tribunal also expresses its solidarity with the Iraqi people and its support for their attempts at recovering their full sovereignty.
François Houtart -- Prof. Emeritus UCL, director of Centre Tricontinental;
Pierre Klein -- Prof. International Law at ULB;
Ludo Abicht -- Prof. Emeritus UA, author
Samir Amin -- author and director of "Forum du Tiers Monde";
Denis Halliday -- Former UN assistant secretary general to Iraq;
Sabah Al Mukhtar -- President, Arab Association of Democratic Lawyers;
Nawal El Saadawi -- Medical doctor and novelist
[*] The oral and written testimonies as well as official documents are reproduced in a preparatory dossier entitled "Questioning the New Imperial World Order".
The formal presentation of the conclusions of the BRussels Tribunal was followed by an energetic debate between the public and the members of the commission. Edited extracts from responses by Samir Amin and Dennis Halliday to questions raised from the floor are available at www.BrussellsTribunal.org
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