BUSH & BLAIR TARGETED BY IRAQ TRIBUNAL
By Greg Szymanski
As President George W. Bush “jet-sets” around the world, promoting the neo-conservatives’ own brand of democracy, there is one overseas meeting in June he will likely avoid like the plague.
In late May, Bush and England’s Prime Minister Tony Blair received personal invitations to attend a session of the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) in Istanbul from June 23-27. A White House spokesman told AFP he was unaware of the meeting or any such group.
The WTI, made up of thousands of people worldwide including many preeminent scholars and dignitaries, seeks to reclaim justice regarding the Iraqi invasion. The group was formed two years ago with the intent to document the war crimes orchestrated by Bush and Blair and eventually bring both heads of state to justice because of what group leaders say is “an arrogant flaunting of world opinion and established law.”
WTI media spokesman Hilal Kuey said many countries around the world are not as kind toward the two leaders as the West, viewing the Iraqi invasion as an overt act of aggression.
“Since the U.S. administration and the UK government have used their power to avoid being prosecuted for an illegal and illegitimate war, the citizens of the world have undertaken an initiative to reclaim justice,” said Kuey from her office in Turkey. “The world is calling for Bush and Blair to be held accountable for the crimes committed in Iraq.”
DESTRUCTION OF IRAQ
The Istanbul conference is a culmination of two years of investigating and documenting the occupation and destruction of Iraq, as numerous sessions have been held in many foreign capitals around the world. The Istanbul conference marks the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion.
The formal letter sent to Bush is highly critical of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and asks Bush to defend his position to the world, something WTI leaders say he has avoided for three years.
“We, on behalf of the peoples of the world who believe in justice, start from the conviction that you have been acting in violation of common values of humanity, international treaties and international law,” stated the letter sent to the White House and numerous American and British Embassies around the world, asking both Bush and Blair to defend their positions.
Since the organization claims Bush has ignored worldwide pleas to respect international law, the WTI has spread to almost every capital in the world in an attempt to fight what it calls “a war of aggression launched despite the opposition of people and governments all over the world.”
“There is no court or authority that will judge the acts of the United States and its allies. If the official authorities fail, then authority derived from universal moral and human rights principles can speak for the world,” said Kuey, the WTI spokesman.
“Our legitimacy derives from the failure of official international institutions to hold accountable those who committed grave international crimes and constitute a continued menace to world peace. We have a duty to take action against wars of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other breaches of international law.
“The WTI will not end in Istanbul as it is to be considered a continuing process. The investigation of what happened in Iraq is of prime importance to restore truth and preserve collective memory against the constant rewriting of history. We are challenging the silence of international institutions and seeking to put them under pressure to fulfill their obligations under international law.”
Besides the Iraq war, the WTI is also investigating the growing clamor of what has been called America’s effort to create a “new world order” to dominate the world.
“The WTI initiative seeks to be part of a broader movement to stop the establishment of the new imperial world order as a permanent ‘state of exception’ with constant wars as one of its main tools,” added Kuey. “We hope to bring a moral, political and judicial judgment that contributes to building a world of peace and justice.”
The WTI has been endorsed and signed by such notable worldwide figures as Richard Falk, professor of international law at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Ken Coates, chairman of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Baskin Oran, former European member of parliament and professor of international relations at the University of Ankara and Denis J. Halliday, former assistant UN secretary general from 1994 to 1998.