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[casi] Anti-Iraq Coalition Shows Some Limits

Hi All,


1) Anti-Iraq Coalition Shows Some Limits
2) Coalition of the willing? Make that war criminals

This message is being sent on March 19, 2003 at 5:00 pm  MET.

Will it pass the admin's vetting and if so, when will it finally reach the
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Posted on Wed, Mar. 19, 2003

Anti-Iraq Coalition Shows Some Limits
Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria - President Bush's "coalition of the willing" is a
conflicted alliance: Its political leaders want to help disarm Saddam
Hussein by force, but many of their people want no part of it.

"I'm sure Saddam is a bad guy, but you don't need an army to swat a fly,"
said Peter Illes, 49, a parking ticket inspector in Hungary, where three
out of four people say they are against an American-led war and their
government's pledge to help.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that by his count, 30 nations
consider themselves coalition members and 15 more have quietly promised

However, some of the countries Powell named, such as Japan, have said they
will offer only post-conflict help. Others, such as Spain and the
Netherlands, have offered military support but not combat troops. And some,
such as the Philippines, have not yet approved basic support such as U.S.

Powell's list also included countries like anti-war Belgium, which said it
was allowing use of its territory for military transports mainly to show
Washington that it is important for nations to work together.

A U.S.-led force of about 300,000 troops, roughly 1,000 combat aircraft and
a naval fleet is in place in the Persian Gulf region, ready to attack Iraq
on Bush's orders. Britain, the United States' chief war partner, has sent
45,000 troops and its largest naval deployment since the 1982 Falklands

Even France, vilified by Americans for blocking a U.N. resolution
authorizing force, made it onto Powell's "B" list for opening its airspace
under treaty obligations and offering more help if Saddam uses biological
or chemical weapons.

Despite fierce public opposition in Australia, Prime Minister John Howard
said Tuesday his government would commit 2,000 military personnel already
on standby in the Middle East, along with 14 Hornet fighter jets, transport
ships, aircraft and other firepower.

Poland said it would commit 200 troops, and Turkish lawmakers agreed to
review their earlier refusal to allow American troops to use Turkey as a
staging ground for an invasion.

Italy has continuously expressed its solidarity, though it has no plans to
send troops and surveys suggest 75 percent of Italians oppose a war.
Parliament was expected to debate a government request Wednesday to
authorize the use of bases and airspace.

Spain, the United States' staunchest ally after Britain, seemed unlikely to
play a significant military role. The government on Tuesday ruled out
sending any troops but said it would provide military personnel and
equipment in a support capacity and offer warplanes to defend Turkey.

Spain's strong pro-U.S. stance has proved deeply unpopular: All opposition
parties oppose a war, and recent polls show more than 80 percent of
Spaniards do, too.

The Netherlands has contributed three Patriot missile batteries and 360 men
to operate them and defend Turkey in case of an Iraqi counterattack. But
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Dutch troops are out of the
question "given the resistance in society."

The NATO alliance - which is deeply divided over the prospect of war - will
not play a direct military role in a strike on Iraq but has sent units to
defend Turkey.

Some of the most spirited, albeit largely symbolic, offers of help have
come from unlikely countries.

Tiny Albania, which is mostly Muslim and among Europe's poorest nations,
has offered a small non-combat army unit of 70 soldiers. It has also made
available its airspace, land routes and territorial waters.

Bush dashed off letters of thanks to Albania and neighboring Macedonia this
week, assuring them that America "will not forget those who have stood with

Romania has opened its airspace, contributed 278 non-combat nuclear,
biological and chemical decontamination specialists, military police and
mine-clearing units, and offered the use of strategic ports on the Black

"It's not about supporting an intervention, as we don't even have the means
to do it. It's about meeting certain obligations as allies," said President
Ion Iliescu.

Elsewhere in formerly communist Eastern Europe, Hungary's leaders have
angered many citizens by opening the country's airspace, roads and railways
to U.S. forces and providing a base for the United States to train Iraqi
dissidents for non-combat support roles and postwar administration.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic also face opposition for deploying
anti-chemical warfare units to Kuwait.


Coalition of the willing? Make that war criminals
February 26 2003

A pre-emptive strike on Iraq would constitute a crime against humanity,
write 43 experts on international law and human rights.

The initiation of a war against Iraq by the self-styled "coalition of the
willing" would be a fundamental violation of international law.
International law recognises two bases for the use of force.

The first, enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, allows
force to be used in self-defence. The attack must be actual or imminent.

The second basis is when the UN Security Council authorises the use of
force as a collective response to the use or threat of force. However, the
Security Council is bound by the terms of the UN Charter and can authorise
the use of force only if there is evidence that there is an actual threat
to the peace (in this case, by Iraq) and that this threat cannot be averted
by any means short of force
(such as negotiation and further weapons inspections).

Members of the "coalition of the willing", including Australia, have not
yet presented any persuasive arguments that an invasion of Iraq can be
justified at international law. The United States has proposed a doctrine
of "pre-emptive self-defence" that would allow a country to use force
against another country it suspects may attack it at some stage.

This doctrine contradicts the cardinal principle of the modern
international legal order and the primary rationale for the founding of the
UN after World War II - the prohibition of the unilateral use of force to
settle disputes.

The weak and ambiguous evidence presented to the international community by
the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to justify a pre-emptive strike
underlines the practical danger of a doctrine of pre-emption. A principle
of pre-emption would allow particular national agendas to completely
destroy the system of collective security contained in Chapter Seven of the
UN Charter and return us to the pre-1945 era, where might equalled right.
Ironically, the same principle would justify Iraq now launching pre-emptive
attacks on members of the coalition because it could validly argue that it
feared attack.

But there is a further legal dimension for Saddam Hussein on the one hand
and George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard and their potential coalition
partners on the other to consider. Even if the use of force can be
justified, international humanitarian law places significant limits on the
means and methods of warfare.

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their 1977 Protocols set out some of
these limits: for example, the prohibitions on targeting civilian
populations and civilian infrastructure and causing extensive destruction
of property not justified by military objectives. Intentionally launching
an attack knowing that it will cause "incidental" loss of life or injury to
civilians "which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and
direct overall military advantage anticipated" constitutes a war crime at
international law.

The military objective of disarming Iraq could not justify widespread harm
to the Iraqi population, over half of whom are under the age of 15. The use
of nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive attack would seem to fall squarely
within the definition of a war crime.

Until recently, the enforcement of international humanitarian law largely
depended on the willingness of countries to try those responsible for grave
breaches of the law. The creation of the International Criminal Court last
year has, however, provided a stronger system of scrutiny and adjudication
of violations of humanitarian law.

The International Criminal Court now has jurisdiction over war crimes and
crimes against humanity when national legal systems have not dealt with
these crimes adequately. It attributes criminal responsibility to
individuals responsible for planning military action that violates
international humanitarian law and those who carry it out. It specifically
extends criminal liability to heads of state, leaders of governments,
parliamentarians, government officials and military personnel.

Estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq suggest that up to quarter of a
million people may die as a result of an attack using conventional weapons
and many more will suffer homelessness, malnutrition and other serious
health and environmental consequences in its aftermath.

>From what we know of the likely civilian devastation caused by the
coalition's war strategies, there are strong arguments that attacking Iraq
may involve committing both war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Respect for international law must be the first concern of the Australian
Government if it seeks to punish the Iraqi Government for not respecting
international law. It is clearly in our national interest to strengthen,
rather than thwart, the global rule of law.

Humanitarian considerations should also play a major role in shaping
government policy. But, if all else fails, it is to be hoped that the fact
that there is now an international system to bring even the highest
officials to justice for war crimes will temper the enthusiasm of our
politicians for this war.

Don Anton, senior lecturer, ANU; Peter Bailey, professor, ANU; Andrew
Byrnes, professor, ANU; Greg Carne, senior lecturer, University of
Tasmania; Anthony Cassimatis, lecturer, University of Queensland; Hilary
Charlesworth, professor and director, Centre for International and Public
Law, ANU; Madelaine Chiam, lecturer, ANU; Julie Debeljak, associate
director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law; Kate Eastman, Wentworth
Chambers, Sydney; Carolyn Evans, senior lecturer, Melbourne University;
Devika Hovell, lecturer, University of NSW; Fleur Johns, lecturer, Sydney
University; Sarah Joseph, associate director, Castan Centre for Human
Rights Law, Monash University; Ann Kent, research fellow, Centre for
International and Public Law, ANU; David Kinley, professor and director,
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University; Susan Kneebone,
associate professor, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law; Wendy Lacey,
lecturer, Adelaide University; Garth Nettheim AO, emeritus professor, UNSW;
Penelope Mathew, senior lecturer, ANU; Ian Malkin, associate professor,
Melbourne University; Chris Maxwell QC, Melbourne Bar; Tim McCormack, Red
Cross professor and director, centre for military law, Melbourne
University; Sophie McMurray, lecturer, UNSW; Anne McNaughton, lecturer,
ANU; Kwame Mfodwo, lecturer, Monash Law School; Wayne Morgan, senior
lecturer, ANU; Anne Orford, associate professor, Melbourne University;
Emile Noel, senior fellow, New York University Law School; Dianne Otto,
associate professor, Melbourne University; Peter Radan, senior lecturer,
Macquarie Law School; Rosemary Rayfuse, senior lecturer, UNSW, Simon Rice
OAM, president, Aust ralian Lawyers for Human Rights; Donald Rothwell,
associate professor, Sydney University; Michael Salvaris, senior research
fellow, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University; Chris Sidoti,
professor, Human Rights Council of Australia; John Squires, director, Aust
ralian Human Rights Centre, UNSW; James Stellios, lecturer, ANU; Tim
Stephens, lecturer, Sydney University; Julie Taylor, University of WA;
Gillian Triggs, professor and co-director, Institute for International and
Comparative Law, Melbourne University; John Wade, professor and director of
the Dispute Resolution Centre, Bond Univer sity; Kristen Walker, senior
lecturer, Melbourne University; Brett Williams, lecturer, Sydney
University; Sir Ronald Wilson, former High Court judge and president, Human
Rights Commission.

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