Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 25 (OneWorld) - A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting"aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.
"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.
Ferencz said that after Nuremberg the international community realized that every war results in violations by both sides, meaning the primary objective should be preventing any war from occurring in the first place.
He said the atrocities of the Iraq war--from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of dozens of civilians by U.S. forces in Haditha to the high number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent car bombs--were highly predictable at the start of the war.
Ferencz believes the most important development toward that end would be the effective implementation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is located in the Hague, Netherlands.
The court was established in 2002 and has been ratified by more than 100 countries. It is currently being used to adjudicate cases stemming from conflict in Darfur, Sudan and civil wars in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
But on May 6, 2002--less than a year before the invasion of Iraq--the Bush administration withdrew the United States' signature on the treaty and began pressuring other countries to approve bilateral agreements requiring them not to surrender U.S. nationals to the ICC.
Three months later, George W. Bush signed a new law prohibiting any U.S. cooperation with the International Criminal Court. The law went so far as to include a provision authorizing the president to"use all means necessary and appropriate," including a military invasion of the Netherlands, to free U.S. personnel detained or imprisoned by the ICC.
That's too bad, according to Ferencz. If the United States showed more of an interest in building an international justice system, they could have put Saddam Hussein on trial for his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
"The United Nations authorized the first Gulf War and authorized all nations to take whatever steps necessary to keep peace in the area," he said."They could have stretched that a bit by seizing the person for causing the harm. Of course, they didn't do that and ever since then I've been bemoaning the fact that we didn't have an International Criminal Court at that time."
Ferencz is glad that Saddam Hussein is now on trial.
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