A motions hearing will be held Tuesday at Camp Pendleton for a lieutenant charged with hampering the investigation of alleged war crimes in Haditha, Iraq.
First Lt. Andrew Grayson is charged with making false official statements and obstructing justice in connection with a squad of Camp Pendleton Marines who killed 24 Iraqi civilians on Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha.
The squad members committed those killings after a roadside bomb struck their convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.
Prosecutors accuse Grayson, an intelligence officer, of ordering a Marine to destroy photos showing the dead Iraqis. They also contend that he tried to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps.
In other Haditha news, the trial for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich could be postponed indefinitely while prosecutors appeal a judge's ruling that they can't obtain outtakes from an interview Wuterich gave to the CBS program “60 Minutes.” Wuterich led the squad that killed the Iraqi civilians.
A Camp Pendleton spokesman said he couldn't confirm that Wuterich's court-martial won't start March 10.
Lessons learned from the war
The Geneva Conventions define the following actions as war crimes — “murder, ill treatment of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages.”
In Article 35 the document expands to say, “In any armed conflict, the right of parties to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.”
We know of the United States' use of indiscriminant cluster bombs, environmentally disastrous radioactive depleted uranium munitions, torture and sexual humiliation in detention centers in Iraq. Thus we are implored by the signers of the Geneva Conventions and the framers of the Nuremburg Principles, if not bound by international law, to intervene in order to end this crime against humanity.
The Nuremberg Principles proclaim, “individuals have international duties which transcend national obligations of obedience.” What do these duties look like in regards to the war in Iraq? How do we respond to crimes of war being committed today?
Carol Davidek-Waller: Congressional Responsibility for War Crimes
The Congressional Democrats' stubborn insistence that Bush and Cheney leave the White House through the front door, like honorable men who served their nation with distinction, is baffling.
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My second hunch is that it's all about the war crimes. It's a long and winding road, but there are some serious implications for Congress if an investigation is launched. The illegality of the Iraq invasion is going to be front and center.
The head of the UN declared the invasion of Iraq illegal. Waging illegal war is the most serious war crime there is. It's a capital crime. This isn't just international law, it's domestic law as well.
The way the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been conducted is rife with additional war crimes; the use of illegal weapons, human rights violations, torture, destruction of civilian infrastructure, seizing resources, collective punishment (Fallujah), and failure to protect civilian life are all war crimes. Even the failure to count "enemy" dead is a war crime.
But it isn't just the perpetrators who take the fall in the case of war crimes. Failure to prevent a war crime when you have knowledge of them is in itself a war crime. The German Minister of Information was hung for just such crimes. He didn't send anyone to concentration camps or invade any nation. His activities made those things possible. He was fully aware of what was going on.
Every member of Congress that has voted for the war (there is no preemptive war that isn't a war crime) and to continue the military occupation of Iraq is implicated. They are the ones making the war crimes possible by funding them and they are fully aware of their illegality.
The Geneva Conventions are not "quaint"; they are U.S. law. It appears that not only have the president and vice president violated domestic statutes, but also so has Congress. An investigation is certain to highlight these uncomfortable truths. Isn't it just possible that members of Congress, many of whom are lawyers, are very aware that they bear responsibility for Iraq.
The conflict of interest in asking a Congress who overwhelmingly voted to launch this war and have continued to support it in the face of incontrovertible evidence of its illegality is a staggering conflict of interest.
War Crime Trials
The Japanese war criminals were divided into three categories; A, B and C. Class A covered the major war criminals, the select leaders who had planned and conspired to violate international law. These were tried by the International Military Tribunal at Tokyo. Class B comprised some 20 high-ranking military officers charged with command responsibility for troops who had committed atrocities. Class C war criminals were composed of the lower ranking officers and men charged with mistreatment of prisoners of war or relatively minor atrocities. Of this third category some were tried overseas, in the territories were the crimes had been committed, by American, British, Australian, Chinese and other Allied military authorities, but most of the them were tired at Yokohoma by military commissions of the U.S. Eighth Army. Of about 4,200 in this category about 400 were acquitted, some 700 were sentenced to death, and the remainder received varying terms of imprisonment. It seems that all B and C classed have been released from prison.
French war crimes dossier to be submitted to The Hague Court
The secretary general of the national coordination of martyr's sons disclosed that a legal action against war crimes of the French occupation committed in Algeria is to be brought to the International Court of Justice before July 5th 2008, saying a detailed file is being elaborated by the revolutionary family in that frame.
During the regional conference held Thursday in Jijel province, Mr. Khaled Bounedjma said the Lawyer Ben Brahem has been charged of the dossier, while being backed up by several lawyers from France and Spain.
He further said that the dossier is being currently supported by evidences like documents and records unveiling crimes committed in Algeria by the French occupation in the mid 20th century, pointing out that a legal action is to be brought to the UN International Court of Justice, ICJ based in The Hague, Netherlands.
War crimes for trial stressed
Speakers at an international conference in Dhaka on Saturday called for proper documentation of war crimes committed during the independence war in 1971 so that trial of war criminals could be ensured.
They put out the call at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference on 'genocide, truth and justice' organised by the Liberation War Museum at the BRAC Centre Inn.
Former chief adviser to the caretaker government Muhammad Habibur Rahman, also former chief justice, inaugurated the event.
Deputy commander-in-chief in the independence war AK Khandker, Indian researcher on war crimes Ashish Nandy, Cambodian researcher on war crime documentation Farina So and Liberation War Museum trustees Sarwar Ali and Mofidul Hoque spoke on the occasion.
Habibur Rahman in said, 'Fifty-three kinds of crimes, including 13 against human rights and four offences of genocide were committed in the independence war of Bangladesh. Some 5000 killing spots have so far been identified.'
The basic job of a state is to detect crimes and punish criminals and no state can dillydally on issues of trying war criminals, said Habibur Rahman.
'We have failed and we are not even sorry for that… We are a small and poor nation and divided in many groups. This is why we could not even try the war criminals,' he said.
AK Khandker said about 37,400 local war criminals were identified as per the Collaborators Act 1972. 'The government of the time under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman began the process for the trial of the criminals. After his killing on August 15, 1975, the entire process was stopped and is yet to resume.'
The proper documentation of war crimes and the trial of the criminals are most important to establish truth and justice for looking forward and stopping such killings in the future, he said. Scholars and researchers from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Japan are participating in the conference.
Liberia: Women Press for War Crimes Court
A conglomeration of women groups under the banner of the Grand Kru County Women has stressed the need for the establishment of a war crime court to prosecute perpetrators of the Liberian armed conflict on ground that fighters forced them into prostitution and sexual slavery.
In a testimony presented to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), at the weekend in Barclayville City, Grand Kru County through their spokesperson, Annie Wreh said the court should be similar to the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Clinton's (and Blair's) Kosovo War Crime
Our Kosovo bombing war was a Clinton/Blair/NATO *war crime*. As Henry Kissinger stated in his May 31, 1999 NEWSWEEK article, the Rambouillet Treaty was an ultimatum, not a peace treaty.
FRONTLINE is the first mainline American media organization that I know of to report on Appendix B of Rambouillet. This demanded that NATO troops be allowed to occupy all of Yugoslavia including Serbia and was an unconditional surrender ultimatum Clinton nd Blair knew Milosevich couldn't accept. Nor could even those many, patriotic Serbs who detest Milosevich accept it. According to the FRONTLINE narrator, App. B was *intended* to be unacceptable. In other words, Rambouillet was a treaty made to be refused.
Judging from Bosnia-Herzogovina, without Appendix B the Serbs would have caved in to a fair partitioning of Kosovo after just the threat of nationwide bombing, or maybe a week of it at the most. Indeed, Milosevich's parliament was already on record as welcoming UN intervention.
Enraged by Appendix B and the bombing -- while being assured that we wouldn't intervene on the ground -- the Serbs were free to commit the expected atrocities Clinton, Blair, etc. could then use to justify the war after the fact.
And so 10,000 Albanian and Serb people died, 200,000 mostly innocent Serbian Kosovoans have been ethnically cleansed, and hundreds of thousands have suffered needlessly in Clinton's/NATO's unnecessary war and its aftermath. And by Nuremberg, starting and waging a wrongful war *is* a war crime.
What is more, Albanian Kosovoans are now turning on their NATO "rescuers" (quite like the IRA turned on the British Army after it intervened in Northern Ireland to protect Catholics). In light of Appendix B, Milosevich and his thugs qualify as merely our accomplices to the Kosovoan peoples' grief and tragedy.
Bosnia war crimes court convicts former prison officials
Two former prison officials were convicted of crimes against humanity Thursday by the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the systematic abuse of non-Serb detainees at the Fo?a Correctional Facility during the Bosnian war [JURIST news archive]. The court sentenced Mitar Raševi? and Savo Todovic [indictment, PDF; ICTY case fact sheet, PDF] to eight and twelve years respectively. Both men were first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2006, but were transferred to Sarajevo later that year. This was the first time that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina War Crimes Chamber has found suspects guilty of running a joint criminal enterprise.