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WTI - World Tribunal On Iraq -  Culminating Session - Istanbul 23.-27. Juni 2005


International Law Appendix

Explanatory Note

This international law appendix is intended to back up the Jury Statement that rests its assessments primarily on a moral and political appraisal of the Iraq War. The Statement relies upon the extensive testimony given in written and oral form by international law experts who have a world-class scholarly reputation during the Istanbul Culminating Session of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). It also reflects the testimony and submissions on related issues of war crimes and the failure of the United Nations to protect Iraq against aggression.

The Jury of Conscience was not a body composed of jurists or international law experts. It did not hear arguments supporting the legality of the invasion of Iraq as would have been made before a judicial body under the authority of either the state or an international institution acting on behalf of the international community. The World Tribunal on Iraq throughout all of its session proceeded from a sense of moral and political outrage of concerned citizens from all over the world, with respect to the war. The Tribunal was not interested in a debate solely as to legality. The legal issues were relevant to the extent that they added weight to the moral and political purpose of the Tribunal, which was to expose the Iraq War as the crime it is, appealing to and drawing upon the deep bonds that link us all in our humanity. Therefore the Tribunal sought testimony and evidence to call into question the mantle of respectability thrown over the Iraq War by the aggressors, and the false impression disseminated by mainstream media, that the Iraq War was in any sense justified by political circumstances, moral considerations, or legal analysis.

The WTI is a worldwide process dedicated to reclaiming justice on behalf of the peoples of the world. 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, continuing with unabated fury to this day. The role of international law is understood in light of these WTI goals.

The concerns of the WTI range much further than the demand for the implementation of international law, especially as much of this law currently serves the interests of wealth and power. Nevertheless, international law with respect to the use of force and recourse to war is important in relation to the work of the WTI. International law is useful for the WTI for the following reasons:

In addition, the WTI makes use of international law to fulfill its mission:

It is important to distinguish:


Legal Analysis

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.

Principle 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 under international law.

Principle 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 under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle 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.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

Violations and Crimes:

I. The invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, together with the continuing occupation of Iraq, constitutes a violation of the core obligation of the United Nations Charter:

II. Iraq War by the invading military forces, principally those of the United States and United Kingdom, and subsequent occupation, violated the law of war such as the Geneva Conventions on the Humanitarian Laws of War (1949), Additional Protocols to Geneva Conventions (1977) and Hague Conventions on the Laws of War (1899, 1907) in numerous respects, including the following:

III. The occupation of Iraq has fragrantly violated The Right of Self-Determination
of the People of Iraq:

IV. The occupation of Iraq has included massive abuses of the Iraqi civilian population, including the widespread and pervasive reliance on torture, the practice of which is unconditionally prohibited by international law:

V. The United Nations has failed to uphold its obligations to protect sovereign states, especially its members, from violations of their legal rights to political independence and territorial integrity, passively allowing Iraq to be threatened and attacked for twelve years prior to the invasion of 2003:


  1. The Jury Statement is consistent with an objective understanding of international law, including the United Nations Charter.
  2. Members of the United Nations and governments of sovereign states have legal obligations to uphold the Charter and act to ensure respect for the laws of war.
  3. All three categories of Nuremberg Crimes are associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
  4. The International Criminal Court should indict, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators and collaborators for this aggression against Iraq and the related international crimes arising from the subsequent occupation of the country.
  5. The ICC should be supplemented by a specially constituted international tribunal with authority to indict, prosecute, and punish for crimes committed before 2002 when the ICC was established and to the extent that crimes associated with states not Parties to the ICC are not addressed.
  6. The UNGA should be encouraged to implement international law with respect to the Iraq War and occupation.
  7. National courts relying on universal jurisdiction should be urged to investigate and prosecute individuals associated with Nuremberg Crimes in Iraq.
  8. Organs of civil society, including the WTI, should act to ensure that the recommendations and conclusions of the Jury Statement are promptly and fairly implemented.

Appendix: List of Legal Documents