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Hello everyone Below are some Hansard extracts from Ann Clwyd's contribution to Monday's debate on the Foreign Policy aspects of the Queen's speech in which she discusses the possibility of an ad hoc tribunal for Iraq. May be interesting to those of you interested by the debate over war crimes since, whether or not you believe that our government has committed any, Iraq's most certainly have. Alan Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley): 22 Nov 1999 : Column 397 I shall talk about one more country--Iraq--in the short time that I have available. However, I would have liked to have mentioned many countries and conflicts and to have asked our Government what role we are playing in trying to bring conflicts all over the world to an end. In particular, I wanted to refer to countries, such as Sudan, where the conflict has gone on for many years. Nearly 10 years ago, before the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were set up, it was clear that Saddam Hussein and his close associates should be indicted as international war criminals. When Pol Pot and his associates in Cambodia were indicted as war criminals, when Milosevic and the people responsible for the events in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo have now been indicted as war criminals and when we are talking about indicting some of those responsible for the terrible events in East Timor, we must ask ourselves why Saddam Hussein has not been indicted by the United Nations as a war criminal. 22 Nov 1999 : Column 398 Unfortunately, Saddam and his cronies are still viewed by a few Governments as leaders with whom they may want to do business one day. Some may even be doing that business right now. Saddam and his associates are looked on as leaders of a country under siege by the powerful, struggling to survive against the odds. In reality, as the American ambassador for war crimes, Ambassador Scheffer, said in New York a few weeks ago "these are thugs who terrorize what was once, and could again become, a great nation." I chair an organisation, Indict, which is focused on bringing Saddam Hussein and some of his close associates before an international tribunal. The latest report from the United Nations rapporteur on human rights in Iraq was published a few weeks ago and it shows that atrocities are being carried out by Saddam's army against the Arabs of the southern marshes with a ferocity that is as widespread--and over a longer period--as that waged by Milosevic against the Kosovo Albanians. We have identified nine major criminal episodes under Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq. Three of them continue to this day and, indeed, one of them is accelerating at an alarming pace. In the 1980s, crimes against humanity and possible genocide were committed in the Anfal campaign against the Iraqi Kurds, including the notorious use of poison gas in Halabja in 1988. In the 1980s, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the use of poison gas, took place in the war against Iran. In the 1990-91, there were crimes of humanity and war crimes against Kuwait. In 1991, war crimes took place against coalition forces during the Gulf war. There is not time to list all the crimes, but, of course, Saddam Hussein did not commit them on his own. We know that he has built up one of the most ruthless police states, using a small number of associates who share with him the responsibility for those criminal actions. Ali Hassan Al-Majid became known as "Chemical Ali" for his leadership and enthusiasm in using poison gas against Iraqi Kurds in the Iran-Iraq war. He also turned up in Kuwait during the occupation and, more recently, as governor in the south of Iraq and acted against the Shi'ite people. Saddam Hussein's sons, Qusay and Uday, are both involved in all the crimes. My organisation has come up with a list of 12 people who we believe should be indicted by an international war crimes tribunal. There must not be a memory lapse when it comes to the war crimes of Saddam Hussein and his inner circle. This is a man and a regime who have brutally and systematically committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for years, are committing them now and will continue committing them until the international community finally says, "Enough". A few weeks ago I asked my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary what we were doing in the Security Council of the United Nations to establish an international tribunal to try Saddam Hussein. He said: "we do not at present detect a consensus in the Security Council for a war crimes tribunal on Iraq."--[Official Report, 2 November 1999; Vol. 337, c. 95.] Recently, the United States has said strongly that the Security Council would be fully justified in establishing an ad hoc international criminal tribunal without--this normally happens in such cases--having a commission of experts to consider the matter beforehand. The evidence is there, and I have seen much of it--5.5 million pages of 22 Nov 1999 : Column 399 captured Iraqi documents that were taken out of northern Iraq by Human Rights Watch. They detail in the minutest fashion the day-to-day nature of the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein against the peoples of northern Iraq. An archive of Iraqi documents contains more than 4 million pages and there are video tapes shot by cameramen and an archive of classified documents is, at present, being declassified. There is plenty of evidence, so I ask my right hon. Friend to do his utmost to bring about an international tribunal to try Saddam Hussein and his associates as soon as is humanely possible. Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie): Everybody agrees with the tribute paid to the defence forces by the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames). I should however like to correct something that he said--he probably missed this point during one of his lunch hours: the Treasury no longer works for the Russians and it has changed since his day. I particularly want to commend the Government for the proposal to take steps to ratify the establishment of an International Criminal Court, which is an important move forward. It will fill a yawning gap in international provision that has been present since the setting up of the United Nations itself. We have to bring law, order and justice to the regulation of such important international affairs as genocide. The perceived need for an international court grows and grows. Not only trade, but knowledge of the atrocities committed in places such as Rwanda, East Timor and Kosovo has been globalised. The demand for action from an International Criminal Court is present because we know what is going on, wherever in the world it is taking place, and we learn about such crimes through means that were not available in the past. We can no longer rely on ad hoc provisions such as those for Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia. We need to 22 Nov 1999 : Column 415 establish an International Criminal Court with respected powers and procedures, and it needs to demonstrate quickly that it is a big hitter so that people such as Karadzic, Mladic and Milosevic know that they are not safe. We need such a court not only to deal with present atrocities, but to send a clear message for the future that we have to move on this issue. I particularly welcome the fact that the election of the new British Government gave a strong boost to those who have worked so long for the establishment of an International Criminal Court, but there are flaws in the proposal and I hope that the Minister--either today or in writing--can give us the assurance that it will be improved. First, and most importantly, it is crucial that the prosecutor be genuinely independent. Unless he can act on his own initiative and not be subject to the control of the Security Council or anyone else, we will not be able to have full faith in the court. No one must be above the law. I shall give a current example. All legislation passed by the House has to be tested against the European convention on human rights. We in Scotland have been bitten by the ECHR because a judgment has been made that the practice of appointing a large number of temporary sheriffs, which grew up under the previous Administration and continued under this one, infringes the ECHR. It was not possible to show that the judges were separate, or distant, from the Government. That judgment has to be taken seriously, but we are considering the establishment of an International Criminal Court, and the decision whether or not to take an initiative may be subject to global politics and the make-up of the Security Council. We must consider that issue. We must also consider the provision, which was inserted by a group of nations at a late stage during the proceedings on the ICC, that a nation could be immune from action by the ICC for seven years. That just gives the go-ahead to those who commit genocide. Justice has to be rapid and it has to be done when memories are fresh. If there is a seven-year immunity, it will be a wrecking clause in respect of the carrying out of such justice. I would like an assurance from the Government that they are working hard on the proposals for the ICC with those important nations that have not yet signed and ratified the treaty. We must have China, India and Israel on board, but above all we must have the United States. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***