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[casi] Jutta Burghardt: "... 'Oil for Food' and Human Rights"

Dear List,

Jutta Burghardt has written her own objective account:
"The humanitarian situation in Iraq, the humanitarian
program 'Oil for Food', and Human Rights" (still unpublished,
I believe). I searched CASI's archives but couldn't find it.
So I thought you might be interested. In fact, even if you
know everything there is to know, please do read it. If not,
I am quoting some excerpts.

This paper was first presented at the International Conference
"Embargo and Human Rights in Iraq" organized by the Baytol Hikma
Centre in Baghdad, May 8-9, 2001. Ms. Burghardt presented it also
to the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee in Madrid in July 2001.

She has taken a legal perspective, quoting from various sources:
the Genocide Convention (1949), the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights. She has applied each quote to the
Iraqi situation - with sensitivity and detail.

And the evokes the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal,

        "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."

And she applies this to herself: "In this context, it is
important to know - and I wish my former colleagues in the
Iraq Programme of the United Nations were aware of it - that
the Genocide Convention as well as the Nuremberg Principles
establish that complicity to a crime against humanity is a
crime under international law. I personally believe that
assisting to veil the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi
people amounts to complicity, and I decided that a moral
choice had been available to me."

(You may remember that Ms. Burghardt first gave "personal
reasons" for her resignation and amended that to solidarity
with von Sponeck.)

She cites "VII. Prohibition of the State to Fulfil its
Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights". Applying this to Iraq, she

        "Only a country that is able to exercise its right of
        self-determination is in a position to implement the
        International Covenant and fulfil the obligations
        it entered into when acceding to it. Iraq is being denied
        this right, which it had aptly fulfilled before sanctions
        by investing in education, health, infrastructure, and to
        which it is still committed as I was able to witness."

And she cites Marc Bossuyt:

"c) The Belgian international law expert Marc Bossuyt is
unambiguously clear on this. In his report to the Commission
on Human Rights (Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights -E/CN.4/SUB.2/2000/33) of 21 June 2000 he says
(Paragraph 72)":

        "'The sanctions regime against Iraq has as its clear
        purpose the deliberate infliction on the Iraqi people of
        conditions of life (lack of adequate food, medicines
        etc.) calculated to bring about its physical destruction
        in whole or in part. It does not matter that this
        deliberate physical destruction has as its ostensible
        objective the security of the region. Once clear
        evidence was available that thousands of civilians were
        dying and that hundreds of thousands would die in future
        as the Security Council continued the sanctions, the
        deaths were no longer an unintended side effect [and]
        the Security Council was responsible for all known
        consequences of its actions. The sanctioning bodies
        cannot be absolved from having the 'intent to destroy'
        the Iraqi people. The United States Ambassador to the
        United Nations in fact admitted this; when questioned
        whether the half million deaths were 'worth it', she
        replied: 'we think the price is worth it'. The states
        imposing the sanctions could raise questions under the
        genocide Convention.'"

"In addition", says Burghardt, "and what is most important, in
his recommendations Marc Bossuyt states that sanctions which
violate international law, and especially human rights, need
not be respected. And he raises the question of compensation."


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