Laws and Treaties Violated by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, Public Officials Under Their Authority, and Members of the U.S. Military Under Their Command
The U. S. Constitution, Art. VI, para. 2, makes treaties adopted by the U.S. part of the "law of the land." Thus, a violation of the U. N. Charter, Hague IV, Geneva Conventions, etc. is also a violation of U.S. federal law.
U.S. Federal Law 18 U.S.C. § 2441 (War Crimes Act of 1996) makes committing a war crime, defined as: "...a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party..." punishable by fine, imprisonment, or death.
And the following treaties and charters which define: wars of aggression, war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity:
Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV)
Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator...of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.
U.N. Gen. Assembly Res. 3314
Defines the crime of aggression as "... the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State...or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations..."
Nuremberg Tribunal Charter
Principle VI: "The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace: Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties;
(b) War crimes: ...murder, ill-treatment...of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war,...plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages...
(c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination...and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population...when such acts are done...in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."
A) Protocol I, Article 75: "(1)...persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict...shall be treated humanely in all circumstances...(2) The following acts are and shall remain prohibited...whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons...(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault...and threats to commit any of the foregoing acts."
B) Protocol I, Art. 51: "The civilian population...shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited." Art. 57: (parties shall) "do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects...an attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one..."
C) Protocol I, Art. 70: "The Parties to the conflict...shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel...even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party."
D) Protocol I, Art. 35: "In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties...to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited...It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment."
E) Convention I, Art. 3: "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms... shall in all circumstances be treated humanely...To this end, the following acts (in addition to those listed in Art. 75, above) are and shall remain prohibited:...the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."
F) Convention III, Art. 5: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy (are prisoners of war under this Convention), such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."
G) Convention IV, Art. 33: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."
OATH OF OFFICE AND UNLAWFUL ORDERS
The military oath taken at the time of induction or commissioning reads:
"I,____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God"
There is...considerable evidence that Bush's plans are fundamentally illegal, from both an international and domestic perspective. If the war is indeed illegal, members of the armed forces have a legal and moral obligation to resist illegal orders, according to their oath of induction.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the "lawful command of his superior officer," 891.ART.91 (2), the "lawful order of a warrant officer", 892.ART.92 (1) the "lawful general order", 892.ART.92 (2) "lawful order". In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.
Among the international laws and treaties that a U.S. pre-emptive attack on Iraq may violate are:
The Hague Convention on Land Warfare of 1899, which was reaffirmed by the U.S. at the 1946 Nuremberg International Military Tribunals.
Resolution on the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons and Prevention of Nuclear War, adopted UN General Assembly, Dec 12, 1980.
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; December 9, 1948, Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the UN General Assembly.
Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, adopted on August 12, 1949 by the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War.
Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, 1108 U.N.T.S. 151, Oct. 5, 1978.
The Charter of the United Nations.
The Nuremberg Principles, which define as a crime against peace, "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for accomplishment of any of the forgoing."
As Hamilton Action for Social Change has noted "Under the Nuremberg Principles, you have an obligation NOT to follow the orders of leaders who are preparing crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. We are all bound by what U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert K. Jackson declared in 1948: [T]he very essence of the [Nuremberg] Charter is that individuals have intentional duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state." At the Tokyo War Crimes trial, it was further declared "[A]nyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something about it is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent commission of the crimes."
In a report written by Andrew Lichterman, John Burroughs, of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and the Western States Legal Foundation, and Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, and Jules Lobel, Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh entitled "The United Nations Charter and the Use of Force Against Iraq," noted that:
"Under the UN Charter, there are only two circumstances in which the use of force is permissible: in collective or individual self-defense against an actual or imminent armed attack: and when the Security Council has directed or authorized use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. Neither of those circumstances now exists. Absent one of them, U.S. use of force against Iraq is unlawful."
The authors were specifically referring to Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right to self-defense. Nothing that Iraq has done would call that provision into effect. The report also states that:
"There is no basis in international law for dramatically expanding the concept of self-defense, as advocated in the Bush Administration's September, 2002 "National Security Strategy" to authorize "preemptive" - really preventive - strikes against states based on potential threats arising from possession or development of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and links to terrorism. Such an expansion would destabilize the present system of UN Charter restraints on the use of force. Further, there is no claim or publicly disclosed evidence that Iraq is supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorist.
The Bush administration's reliance on the need for "regime change" in Iraq as a basis for use of force is barred by Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits "the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." Thus the rationales being given to the world, the American public, and the armed forces are illegal on their face.
It is important to remember that Saddam Hussein was an important "ally" during the 1980s and that many of the weapons that may be faced by our armed forces will bear a "Made in the USA" label. The issue here is not the "evil' of Saddam Hussein, nor the international community doing nothing, but an illegal march to war by the Bush administration.
In addition to the violations of international laws, which have been incorporated into U.S. law, the... attack on Iraq is a direct violation of national law as Bush claims that he has the authority to decide whether the U.S. will go to war or not. The U.S. Constitution is very explicit on this point. Only the Congress has the authority to declare war, Article 1, section 8, Par. 11. Congress does not have the right to give that power away, or to delegate that power to the president or anyone else. The President as the "Commander in Chief" (Article 2, section 2, Par. 1) can command the armed forces in times of peace and war, but he does not have the authority to declare the war or determine if that war is to occur, especially if he is engaged in illegal conduct in violation of the Constitution itself or his oath of office.The Constitution spells out very clearly the responsibility of the President and his oath, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." (Article 2, section 2, Par. 8). The President also has the primary duty to make sure "that the laws be faithfully executed," (Article 2, section 3).
JOINT CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.
"The resolution before us today is not only a product of haste; it is also a product of presidential hubris. This resolution is breathtaking in its scope. It redefines the nature of defense, and reinterprets the Constitution to suit the will of the Executive Branch. It would give the President blanket authority to launch a unilateral preemptive attack on a sovereign nation that is perceived to be a threat to the United States. This is an unprecedented and unfounded interpretation of the President's authority under the Constitution, not to mention the fact that it stands the charter of the United Nations on its head."
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, remarks made on the floor of the U.S. Senate, October 3, 2002).
IRAQ WAR RESOLUTION
H. J. RES. 114
Passed: October 11, 2002
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.
Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;
Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism; Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;
Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;
Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations';
Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;
Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;
Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people; Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;
Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq; Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;
Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;
Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 (1991), and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949 (1994);
Whereas in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1), Congress has authorized the President `to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security Council Resolution 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, and 677';
Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it `supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1),' that Iraq's repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and`constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,' and that Congress, `supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688';
Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;
Whereas on September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to `work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge' posed by Iraq and to `work for the necessary resolutions,' while also making clear that `the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable';
Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary;
Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;
Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;
Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and
Whereas it is in the national security interests of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002'.
SEC. 2. SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS. The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to--
(1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq and encourages him in those efforts; and
(2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
(b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION- In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
(c) War Powers Resolution Requirements-
(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.
SEC. 4. REPORTS TO CONGRESS. (a) REPORTS- The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 3 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are completed, including those actions described in section 7 of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338).
(b) SINGLE CONSOLIDATED REPORT- To the extent that the submission of any report described in subsection (a) coincides with the submission of any other report on matters relevant to this joint resolution otherwise required to be submitted to Congress pursuant to the reporting requirements of the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated report to the Congress.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- To the extent that the information required by section 3 of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) is included in the report required by this section, such report shall be considered as meeting the requirements of section 3 of such resolution.