The World Tribunal on Iraq: Pre-final session in Istanbul Print E-mail

 

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 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.

On June 23rd to the 27th 2005, at the start of the third year of the occupation of Iraq, the culminating session will take place in Istanbul. This session will reach a decision following an examination of the results of the previous sessions as well as new reports and testimonies, while evaluating the implications of the aggression against Iraq for the world at large.

Origins of the Project
The idea of organising an international tribunal against the invasion of Iraq originated nearly simultaneously in several places around the world. It was discussed and in principle supported at Anti-War Meetings during 2003 in Berlin, Jakarta and Geneva, Paris and Cancun. The Jakarta Peace Consensus declared on May 25th, 2003 its commitment to the realisation of an international war crimes tribunal. The proposal was also discussed at the Networking Conference (European Network for Peace and Human Rights) organised by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in Brussels on June 26/27th 2003, and the idea was broadly supported at that meeting.

The working group meeting in Brussels discussed the idea and possibilities of convening an international tribunal to investigate and establish the crimes perpetrated against the people of Iraq and humanity. It was decided that it would consist of several hearings around the world, each of them focusing on different aspects of this war and the strategies behind it. The tribunal platform from Turkey was entrusted with the task of acting as the secretariat and the clearing house, and carrying out the coordination in close contact with the groups in Brussels, Hiroshima, New York, London and other cities. This international Coordinating Committee convened a meeting in Istanbul on October 27-29th 2003 to decide the concept, form and aims of the project.


Conclusions: Barcelona Session of the World Tribunal on Iraq Barcelona, May 22, 2005
IraqSolidaridad (www.nodo50.org/iraq): 05-26-05. Translated from Spanish by Jane Roper

"Many of the facts that have been put forward in Barcelona constitute war crimes, as defined in article 8, paragraphs1 & 2 of the statute of the International Criminal Court. They also constitute crimes against humanity as defined in article 7 of the same statute. These crimes are as much the responsibility of the occupying power as that of the individuals that commit them, allow them to happen, or aid the culprits."

[...]

Conclusions
The International Tribunal on Iraq, constituted in Barcelona (for members see below), joins a series of sessions that began in Brussels in March 2004 and will finish in June 2005 in Istanbul. Sessions have been held in Berlin,Stockholm, Hiroshima, Rome, New York and other cities. Before the war a session of the Permanent Tribunal of the People was held in Rome about the illegality of armed intervention in Iraq.

The facts considered by this Tribunal have their roots in the long history of colonization of the Near and Middle East and of the control of the oil production by the European nations and, more recently, by the USA. Control over oil production has become a prime factor in determining military strategies, the setting up of military bases and eventually the resources of the war.

Various justifications -such as the lack of democracy in the region and the fight against terrorism, not to mention the false accusation of the possession of weapons of mass destruction-, serve as the pretext for armed interventions. The messianic speech by President Bush and his neoconservative advisors also give us the idea that this is a conflict of civilizations, and even of religions.

Also, the so called economical, social and political reconstruction of Iraq by the occupying power that has involved the privatization of economical activities in favour of mainly USA interests, the destruction of rural agriculture in favour of exportation, the privatization of public services such as health and education, correspond to the orientation of the neoliberal global model promoted by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The dramatic consequences of this logic are: injustice, crime, violation of people's rights, suffering and death, as it happened before in Vietnam,Afghanistan, Columbia and in many other places in the world. This is why the war in Iraq isn't only a criminal aggression against the people, but also the result of a global project that concerns all humanity. If the project that is being carried out in Iraq isn't stopped, there is a real danger of it extending to other countries of the region.

The Tribunal has heard the testimonies of Iraqi citizens, men and women who have travelled purposely to Barcelona to explain to the Tribunal the present reality in Iraq (see list below). The Tribunal has underlined the courage and civil merit of these witnesses that have constituted the fundamental principle of the pronunciation of the Tribunal. They represent the most varied field of the society of their country, workers, health, education,journalism and the defence of human rights. For this reason, and because of their immediate knowledge of the reality, their testimonies are of the maximum credibility and have allowed the Tribunal the access to rigorous and true information.

And so we conclude:
1. The invasion and occupation of Iraq and the process of transition designed by the occupants was not aimed at the government of Iraq, but against the State of Iraq. To the illegality of the attack and the invasion we must add the illegality of the measures contrary to the rules of international law that ban any changes to the judiciary statutes of the invaded territory, or the usurping of the sovereignty of the occupied State,including its natural resources. All these measures were adopted during the Provisional Authority of the Coalition, directed by Paul Bremer, with the intention of these changes becoming permanent.

2. According to international law, the occupation caused by armed conflict is a factual situation. Its existence or non-existence doesn't depend on a formal declaration, not even on behalf of the Security Council of the United Nations. The title of occupant derives from the real authority, because this authority constitutes the basis of the occupant's responsibility. The occupying power and its allies apparently continue in Iraq at the request of the transitional Iraqi government. Facts show that there is no subordination of the multinational force to the government, but to the US command. The final authority, not only the military but also the civil power, and the effective control of the territory resides in the USA Government and in the thousands of advisors dependant on its embassy in Baghdad.

3. The dismantling of the productive structure of Iraq and the savage introduction of the market economy, the privatization of agriculture,industry and services and in particular the impossibility of the Iraqi people to benefit from their prime resource - oil - mean a flagrant violation of international law and the privation of the basic rights of the Iraqi people.

4. Many of the facts that have been put forward in Barcelona constitute war crimes, as defined in article 8, paragraphs1 & 2 of the statute of the International Criminal Court. They also constitute crimes against humanity as defined in article 7 of the same statute. These crimes are as much the responsibility of the occupying power as that of the individuals that commit them, allow them to happen, or aid the culprits.

5. The invasion and occupation of Iraq, against sovereignty, individuals and collectives of the Iraqi people, give full legitimacy to the resistance,which according to article 51 of the United Nations Chart expresses the right to legitimate defence, constituting the only guarantee to a free and democratic future.

6. In the same way all forms of terrorism that only prejudice the construction of this future are categorically rejected.

7. The recuperation of the full sovereignty of Iraq must first undergo the immediate removal of all the occupier's military contingents, the dismantling of its bases and the ceasing of its repressive rule. Whilst this removal does not take place the local authorities will lack a minimum legitimacy and its political and legal decisions, particularly the implantation of a new constitution, will not be valid. Only after this withdrawal will a new plural and truly independent political power be formed. This will not be the product of formulas of designation or of elections orientated by external agents and will not be subject to trusteeship and so restricted in its attributions.

8. The setting up of guarantees of full and effective respect of human rights, as well as the demands of responsibility for all the acts committed by the occupier -including the material and moral compensation of the people that have suffered violations of their fundamental rights- is indispensable.

9. Full recuperation of political sovereignty is the first step towards the recuperation of economical sovereignty. Only a truly free government can adopt effective policies aimed at the dispensation of help, the normalization of the services, the remission of privatizations, the end of corruption and compensation for the destruction.

The Tribunal agrees to send its report to the United Nations, to the government of the occupying powers, to the Spanish Government and to the Generalitat de Catalunya, to the European Union Commission and to the person responsible for Political Security and Defence of the European Union. And finally, the Tribunal hopes that citizens from all over the world will maintain their solidarity with the people of Iraq, their sensitization in relation with the violations of human rights and their will to fight in favour of peace.

Barcelona, May 22, 2005
Members of the Tribunal:
President:
François Houtart, Sociologist o and Theologist. Director of Centre Tricontinental, Lovaina.
Members:
Mercedes García Aran, professor of Criminal Law. Barcelona University.
Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, former Anti corruption Prosecutor at the Spanish National Audience.
Sharon Marie Ceci. USA Internacional Action Center member.
Pedro Martínez Montávez. Arabist, professor emeritus of Arab and Islam at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
María Pilar Massana Llorens, member of Aturem la Guerra (Stop the War) Barcelona, PASI-CEOSI.
Jaume Saura, professor of International Law at the Barcelona University and President of Human Rights Institute of Catalonia.

Honour Members (not attending the Hearing):
Ahmed Ben Bella, First President of Alger.
Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney and President of International Action Center, EEUU.
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Awarded Nobel of Peace.
Joan Martínez Alier, Professor of Economics and Economical History Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Rosa Regás, Writer and director of the Spanish National Library.
Javier Sádaba, Professor of Ethics. Autonomous University of Madrid.
Nawal El-Saadawi. Writer.

Iraq testimonies attending the Hearing in Barcelona:
Iman Ahmed Jamas. Journalist and translator; former director of the Occupation Watch in Baghdad and co-ordinator of the Iraqi delegation for the Tribunal.
Yawad Mohammad M. Mahdi al-Jalisi. Director of Al-Jalisiya University-School, imam of Al-Khadimiya Mosque (Baghdad), Secretary General of Iraqi Foundational National Congress.
Intisar Muhammad Araibi. Director of Pharmacy Department in Al-Yarmouk
University Hospital, Baghdad.
Muhammad Tariq Abd Allah. Executive manager of Human Rights Studies and Democracy Centre, Faluya/Baghdad.
Abdullah Adul Hamid Mousa. Member of the Executive Board of the Oil Trade Union, Basora.
Abid Ali Kadhim al-Mamouri. Professor of Economic International Relations.An-Nahrein University, Baghdad.
Muhammad Yasin Muhammad. Member of the Local Council of Adamiya (Baghdad) Human Rights Committee.
------------------------------
Supporter messages

Dear friends,
Due to a strong overdose of trips and works, I cannot be there.I am sure your work will help in the necessary revelation of the roots ofthis tragedy,this war born from lies,this scandal of impunity,this factory of crime and despair and madness.

Abrazos, embraces,
eduardo galeano
------------------------
The World Tribunal on Iraq is collecting a definitive body of evidence on the illegality of the invasion and occupation that will be indispensable to the global anti-war movement, to conscientious objectors, and to students of history for years to come. Americans who oppose the war have a duty to support and participate in this crucial international effort to stand up to U.S. government lawlessness and impunity.

Naomi Klein
----------------------
The World Tribunal on Iraq stands as a crucial reminder that international institutions have for the most part failed in bringing the illegalities and human consequences of the Iraq war to light. This clear-sighted and far-reaching coalition presents the information we need to have to see the extent to which the U.S. engages in torture and destruction, abrogating international law and fundamental notions of justice. In a time where so many institutions have engaged in compromised position, looking away from
torture and killing or calling it by other names, the World Tribunal on Iraq represents a beacon of hope.

Judith Butler
------------------------------