By David Swanson
If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are ever impeached, they will certainly be prosecuted and convicted for war (and other) crimes. If they are not impeached, they may still be eventually convicted, but it won’t be as easy. Court rooms are not scientific laboratories sealed in a vacuum. What happens in a criminal’s society matters, and “My people never impeached me” is a defense that has to be taken seriously.
If Bush is impeached, or if even a serious movement threatens his impeachment, it should ideally be done in such a way as to lay out before the public and potential prosecutors both domestic and international, the crimes, both domestic and international. Of the 35 articles of impeachment that Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced in the House on Monday night, the most important one to look at is Article VIII. It reads as follows:
INVADING IRAQ, A SOVEREIGN NATION, IN VIOLATION OF THE UN CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, violated United States law by invading the sovereign country of Iraq in violation of the United Nations Charter to wit:
(1) International Laws ratified by Congress are part of United States Law and must be followed as evidenced by the following:
(A) Article VI of the United States Constitution, which states “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;”
(2) The UN Charter, which entered into force following ratification by the United States in 1945, requires Security Council approval for the use of force except for self-defense against an armed attack as evidenced by the following:
A) Chapter 1, Article 2 of the United Nations Charter states:
“3.All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
“4.All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
(B) Chapter 7, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter states:
“51. Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
(3) There was no armed attack upon the United States by Iraq.
(4) The Security Council did not vote to approve the use of force against Iraq as evidenced by:
(A) A United Nation Press release which states that the United States had failed to convince the Security Council to approve the use of military force against Iraq. [UN]
(5) President Bush directed the United States military to invade Iraq on March 19th, 2003 in violation of the UN Charter and, therefore, in violation of United States Law as evidenced by the following:
(A) A letter from President Bush to Congress dated March 21st, 2003 stating “I directed U.S. Armed Forces, operating with other coalition forces, to commence combat operations on March 19, 2003, against Iraq.” [WH]
(B) On September 16, 2004 Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, speaking on the invasion, said, “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” [BBC]
( C ) The consequence of the instant and direction of President George W. Bush, in ordering an attack upon Iraq, a sovereign nation is in direct violation of United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 118, Section 2441, governing the offense of war crimes.
(6). In the course of invading and occupying Iraq, the President, as Commander in Chief, has taken responsibility for the targeting of civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, use of antipersonnel weapons including cluster bombs in densely settled urban areas, the use of white phosphorous as a weapon, depleted uranium weapons, and the use of a new version of napalm found in Mark 77 firebombs. Under the direction of President George Bush the United States has engaged in collective punishment of Iraqi civilian populations, including but not limited to blocking roads, cutting electricity and water, destroying fuel stations, planting bombs in farm fields, demolishing houses, and plowing over orchards.
(A) Under the principle of “command responsibility”, i.e., that a de jure command can be civilian as well as military, and can apply to the policy command of heads of state, said command brings President George Bush within the reach of international criminal law under the Additional Protocol I of June 8, 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, Article 86 (2). The United States is a state signatory to Additional Protocol I, on December 12, 1977.
(B) Furthermore, Article 85 (3) of said Protocol I defines as a grave breach making a civilian population or individual civilians the object of attacks. This offense, together with the principle of command responsibility, places President George Bush’s conduct under the reach of the same law and principles described as the basis for war crimes prosecution at Nuremburg, under Article 6 of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunals: including crimes against peace, violations of the laws and customs of war and crimes against humanity, similarly codified in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Articles 5 through 8.
(C) The Lancet Report has established massive civilian casualties in Iraq as a result of the United States’ invasion and occupation of that country.
(D) International laws governing wars of aggression are completely prohibited under the legal principle of jus cogens, whether or not a nation has signed or ratified a particular international agreement.
In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.