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Hi All, FYI. 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 list ? Will it then still serve its purpose of timely information ? Best andreas ----------------------- http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/breaking_news/5426322.htm Posted on Wed, Mar. 19, 2003 Anti-Iraq Coalition Shows Some Limits WILLIAM J. KOLE 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 support. 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. overflights. 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 War. 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 us." 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 Sea. "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. --------------------------- http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/25/1046064028608.html 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. THE EXPERTS 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. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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