- Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace
- War crimes
- Crimes against humanity
- Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
Throw waging an 'illegal war' since 2003 into the mix and this has been a long time coming:
Press Conference, Room C, 1 Parliament St.
(just off Parliament Sq.)
Tuesday 15th January 2008 3pm
John McDonnell MP and members of the Campaign to Make War History will brief MPs and the media on allegations of war crimes committed against the people of Iraq by Britain's former Prime Minister and former Attorney General.
Officers from Scotland Yard have commenced a criminal investigation into the deaths of Iraqi citizens killed during the armed invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Metropolitan Police are acting in response to crimes reported by peace activists from We Are Change UK and The Campaign to Make War History. In an unprecedented step, the case was handed to the War Crimes division of the Counter Terrorism branch who are now investigating allegations of 14 criminal offences committed by Tony Blair, Lord Goldsmith and others. The offences are under the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which came into effect under English common law, just two days before 9/11.
Two Members of We Are Change UK and a representative from the Campaign to Make War History were interviewed for six hours at Belgravia Police station on the 20th December 2007. Evidence was provided to the police relating to the crimes of:-
• genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and conduct ancillary to these crimes under Sections 51 and 52 of The International Criminal Court Act 2001.
• a crime against peace and complicity in a crime against peace under Articles 6 and 7 of The Nuremburg Principles.
• murder, incitement to murder and conspiracy to murder under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
• conspiracy to commit genocide, a crime against humanity and war crimes under the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Details of the alleged breaches of international treaties and violations of the laws of war will be provided at the meeting.
Chris Coverdale (The Campaign to Make War History): 020 8540 2865;
John McDonnell MP: 020 7219 6908;
Simon Moore 0208 560 1319, Rob Little 07915 063322 (We Are Change UK)
83, Priory Gardens, London N6 5QU Tel: 020 8540 2865
'Blair Government police investigation for war crimes' Part 1
'Blair Government police investigation for war crimes' Part 2
'Blair Government police investigation for war crimes' Part 3
'Blair Government police investigation for war crimes' Part 4
NB: The document states, "At least 80,000 Iraqis including 30,000 children have been violently killed since the war with Iraq began." More recent estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians murdered by the coalition of the killing put this figure between 655,000 as of October 2006 and 1.2 million as of September 2007. Quite why the document hasn't been upated to reflect these figures is unknown.
War Law and War Crimes
The armed invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal in international and domestic law, violates treaties and renders those involved criminally liable for war crimes.
When Tony Blair and the Attorney General claimed that the war with Iraq was legal and authorised by the Security Council they lied. The use by Britain’s armed forces of cruise missiles, rockets, cluster bombs and depleted uranium artillery shells to attack villages, towns and cities in Iraq killing Iraqi citizens violates the International Treaty for the Renunciation of War, the UN Charter and the Rome Statute and constitutes a crime against peace under Article VI of the Nuremburg Principles as well as genocide and a crime against humanity under the International Criminal Court Act 2001.
All war is illegal.
War was outlawed in 1928 by the International Treaty for the Renunciation of War [the Kellogg-Briand Pact]. Sixty three nations including Britain, America, France, Germany and Japan ratified the Pact condemning recourse to war and agreeing to settle disputes peacefully. This treaty is still in force.ARTICLE I The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
ARTICLE II The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.
The Kellogg-Briand Pact formed the legal basis for the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials. The attack on Iraq renders Britain’s political, civil and military leaders liable for the same crime of waging aggressive war for which Germany’s leaders were convicted and hanged in 1946. The judgement concluded:“After the signing of the Pact, any nation resorting to war as an instrument of national policy breaks the Pact. In the opinion of the Tribunal, the solemn renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy necessarily involves the proposition that such war is illegal in international law; and that those who plan and wage such a war with its inevitable and terrible consequences are committing a crime in so doing.”
“The charges in the indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The Nuremberg Principles
These seven international war laws derived from the Nuremburg and Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals were adopted as universal statute war law by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950.I. Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.
II. The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility.
III. The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility.
IV. The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.
V. Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.
VI. The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.
VII. Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.
Armed attacks on another State are illegal
When Britain signed and ratified the UN Charter we made a binding agreement with every Member State never to threaten or attack them and to settle all disputes peacefully.2.3 All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security and justice are not endangered.
2.4 All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Pre-emptive attacks are illegal. The only legitimate use of armed force is self defence. If an attack occurs a nation may legitimately use proportionate force to defend itself, but it may do so only until the UN Security Council implements measures to resolve the conflict.
The UN Security Council cannot authorise the use of armed force.
The claim that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was authorised by Security Council resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 was a lie. The Security Council is a peacekeeping body and may not use armed force.41. The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon its members to apply such measures…
Intentionally killing a person is a crime
At least 80,000 Iraqis including 30,000 children have been violently killed since the war with Iraq began. Wilful killing is a crime and is never condoned or ‘right’ in law. The Human Rights Act 1998 specifies:“Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No-one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided in law.”
Deliberately killing a person because of their nationality is a crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is never legal for a serviceman to wilfully kill an enemy. Just as it is a crime to explode a bomb in a pub or to fly a plane into the World Trade Centre so it is a crime to deliberately cause the death of another human being. When the first Iraqi citizen died as a result of the actions of Coalition forces those responsible for giving, transmitting, executing or condoning the orders to wage war committed a crime and became criminally liable for every violent death.
Killing Iraqi citizens constitutes genocide.It is an offence against the law of England and Wales for a person to commit genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime, or to engage in conduct ancillary to such an act. This applies to acts committed in England or Wales or outside the United Kingdom by a UK national, resident or person subject to UK service jurisdiction.
For the purpose of this Statute “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such (a) killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
When Coalition armed forces attacked Iraq causing the deaths of thousands of Iraqis every resident of Britain involved in aiding, abetting or executing the decision to wage war became criminally liable for the crimes of ‘genocide’ or ‘conduct ancillary to genocide’ and subject to the sanctions of domestic and international law. If a person did anything to aid, abet or assist the commission of the crime, even such things as paying tax, speaking in favour of executing Saddam Hussein or congratulating returning troops for a job well done they committed a crime of conduct ancillary to genocide. You may argue that you did not intend to destroy a national group, but as the legal meaning of intent is defined in the legislation you will find it hard to argue that you were not aware that anyone would be killed.A person has intent in relation to ‘conduct’ where he means to engage in the conduct, and in relation to a consequence, where he means to cause the consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events.
Every resident of Britain who condoned, supported or took part in the invasion or occupation of Iraq is bound by the Rome Statute and criminally liable for genocide and conduct ancillary to genocide.This Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as Head of State or Government, a member of a Government or Parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this Statute, nor shall it in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence. Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.
Everyone has a duty to disobey illegal orders24. If a person who is bound to obey a duly constituted superior receives from the superior an order to do some act or make some omission which is manifestly illegal, he is under a legal duty to refuse to carry out the order and if he does carry it out he will be criminally responsible for what he does in doing so.”
This article from Chapter VI of the Manual of Military Law applies to every British citizen and taxpayer as well as to servicemen and women. It was derived from the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials when Germany’s leaders claimed that they were not responsible for the crimes of the German Government as they were following Hitler’s superior orders. The judgement rejected their claim.“It was submitted [by the defendants] that international law is concerned with the action of sovereign states, and provides no punishment for individuals; and further, that where the act in question is an act of state, those who carry it out are not personally responsible, but are protected by the doctrine of the sovereignty of the State. In the opinion of the Tribunal, both these submissions must be rejected. That international law imposes duties and liabilities upon individuals as well as upon States has long been recognised…
The very essence of the Charter is that individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State. He who violates the laws of war cannot obtain immunity while acting in pursuance of the authority of the State, if the State in authorising action moves outside its competence under international law…
Leaders are responsible for the war crimes of their subordinates.
The International Criminal Court Act makes it clear that no matter who launches the rockets, fires the cruise missiles, drops cluster bombs or deploys depleted uranium shells, responsibility for the resulting deaths, injuries and destruction lies with those who ordered the attack to take place.65. A military commander, or a person effectively acting as a military commander, is responsible for offences committed by forces under his effective command and control or his effective authority and control… A person responsible under this section for an offence is regarded as aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence.
78. This Act binds the Crown and applies to persons in the public service of the Crown.
Although it is impossible to arrest and try everyone in Britain responsible for war crimes many of Britain’s political, civil and military leaders may eventually be arrested, tried and punished as war criminals.
We all have a responsibility to act
All British residents must abide by their obligations and duties in law and confine their activities to the legitimate path outlined by the UN Charter and the laws of war. To do this you must disassociate yourself from any action that can be construed as aiding, abetting or assisting the British Government’s use of armed force. Members of the Armed Forces and Civil Service must refuse all superior orders contributing to the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. MPs and Peers must force the Government to end the use of armed force or resign from their seats in Parliament. Taxpayers [Individuals and employers] must withhold taxes from the Inland Revenue until the crimes have ceased and others should report war crimes to the police. The wars with Iraq and Afghanistan in which thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed constitute the worst atrocity ever committed by a British Government and they must be stopped. They continue today because too many of us condone or support the Government’s illegal actions and fail to take active practical steps to end the killings.© Chris Coverdale The Campaign to Make War History January 2008