Charge Howard with War Crimes?

27 Jun

It appears that being a former leader of a country can no longer be a passport to immunity for crimes against humanity as a growing number of individuals are calling for the prosecution of these individuals.

In April this year, former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, himself a dictator, has called for an international tribune to try President George Bush, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Howard over the Iraqi invasion.

In Australia, a loose alliance of peace activists, lawyers, academics and politicians, calling themselves ICC ACTION in Melbourne, has also submitted a 52 page brief to chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, on the 13th of this month. According to an IPS report, ‘ Troops Withdraw, Howard Comes Under Fire’, the director and founder of the group, Glenn Floyd, was quoted as saying that ‘the invasion was excessive as Iraq was unable to defend itself and did not have the capacity to protect its citizens’.  He added that the 2003 invasion was ‘a vile war crime in our belief’. Lyn Allison of the Australian Democrats, who was also part of the group, said that Howard is responsible for the invasion as ‘he was the one at the time [who] was the executive of government, (and who) made the decision’. She also argued that the decision to invade Iraq was never put to the Parliament for approval.

A commentary by Kampmark reveals that as early as 2003, an Australian group, Victorian Peace Network, has warned Howard against the invasion.  He also notes that the brief submitted to ICC includes the former Prime Minister’s complicity in the killing of civilians and his ‘connections with the international torture network established under the directives of the ‘war on terror’.

This move has also been supported by the Australian Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW). According to the spokesperson for MAPW NSW, Dr Robert Marr, this was an illegal war which was not approved by the UN based on ‘misleading information about WMD’. He also added that as a result of the invasion, ‘over 650,000 Iraqi citizens have died unnecessarily.’

In the US, Dennis Kucinich has submitted the Kucinich Privilege Resolution, calling for the impeachment of George Bush which is now sitting at the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. According to a commentator, on-line polls indicated that ‘89% of the over 710,000 people who have weighed in at MSNBC agree with Congressman Dennis Kucinich and 250 of his colleagues that President Bush should be tried’.

It would be interesting to see how many Australians as well as people from other parts of the world think that these leaders should be tried for war crimes.

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2 Responses to “Charge Howard with War Crimes?”

  1. Ken Lovell June 27, 2008 at 8:05 pm #

    You can count me as one who believes they should face trial … otherwise where is there any accountability for catastrophes like Iraq?

    Like the righties are so fond of saying … if they’ve done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear.

  2. Rupinder Puria July 4, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    In the words of the former Liberal Party president, John Valder..

    ‘Bush, Blair, and Howard, as leaders of the three members of the coalition of the willing, inflicted enormous suffering on the people of Iraq. And, as such, they are criminals…I believe the only deterrent to a repetition of the Iraq situation is punishment in some form as war criminals’

    I echo his statement wholeheartedly, what is stopping politicians embarking on similar campaigns in the future without the consequence of repercussions?…nothing!

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