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Statement of the Berlin Hearing on June 19, 2004:
Iraq Tribunal: The War Crimes Must be Prosecuted
"If we pass to the order of the day, we capitulate before the coming wars"
The German preliminary conference for an international tribunal on the war of the United States, Great Britain, and their allies against Iraq on June 19, 2004, in Berlin brought as a result that further investigation and prosecution of the charges brought forward at the hearing of severe violations of international law during the war and during the following and de facto still continuing occupation are urgently necessary.
Having listened to international eyewitnesses from Iraq, experts and specialists in international law, we, the organizers, are convinced that President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, leading military officer involved in the enterprise as well as other politically and militarily responsible figures must be held responsible for crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and severe violations of the international humanitarian laws of war.
The same holds for the present occupation which is in continuous violation of the Geneva Convention. These violations include insufficient supply of the population, lacking provision of security, arbitrary use of violence against the civilian population, wrongful arrest of civilians, maltreatment, abuse, and torture, and economic pillage, ecological destruction, and social devastation of the country.
The invasion of Iraq was the final point of a long war that had systematically eroded the institutional base for the lives of 22 million people by subjecting the country to a state of siege and continuous bombing. According the UN Human Rights Commission, the murderous sanction regime which is regarded as responsible for the death of more than one and a half million people even raises "questions with regard to the genocide convention."
In this, we see as one of our most important tasks the investigation of the support of the Iraq war provided by the German population (e.g., by the provision of German territory), support that was evaluated during the hearing as a violation of the German Basic Law as well as of international law.
The US government systematically evades criminal responsibility, e.g., by its policy of obstructing the International Criminal Court.
Since there are no international institutions that prosecute these crimes, tribunals must be organized from below – a process which has already begun in many countries.
The participants agreed to hold preparatory hearings on the points mentioned above, and on that base, to internationally cooperate in working out an indictment and introducing evidence. The tribunal movement, sustained by the worldwide movements for peace, human rights, and against capitalist globalization, and the moral support of the many million people who in the previous year actively fought against the Iraq war, is strictly based on existing law, e.g.: the Charter of the United Nations, the Charter of the International Nuremberg Military Tribunal, resolution 3314 (1974) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the 1949 Geneva Convention and its 1977 protocols, and other prescriptions of international and national law.
In Germany, the tribunal activities that are to lead to an international tribunal will be continued. Additionally, we support all national and international initiatives, hearings, and tribunals on this war in order to jointly expose the truth on the Iraq war, its history, its course, and its consequences, which will in part be felt for many years. We regard this as an important contribution to resisting all efforts to once again establish war as a feasible means of politics in violation of all principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and as a contribution to the progressive reestablishment of international law.
We share the opinion of the experts at the hearing that the new Iraq resolution of the UN Security Council does not fix the violations mentioned above. Resolution 1546, accepted on June 8, 2004, by the UN Security Council with the German representative also voting for it, is silent on the violations of international law committed by the invaders and authorizes them to continue to exercise full control over the country they conquered. Given the fact that the occupation troops under US command remain in the country, the government installed by the occupying power is by no means sovereign, and the Iraqi population is denied its right to self-determination while the occupation goes on.
In order to prevent ever new wrongs from being added to the wrong of the war, we demand the immediate end of the occupation and the immediate withdrawal of the invaders.
Berlin, June 19, 2004