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[casi] World Tribunal on Iraq

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Dear all,

I'd like to present you what I think will be a very important worldwide event for the months to 
come: the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). It starts in Brussels in 14-17 april 2004, and the final 
session will be in march 2005 in Istambul. At the end of this mail is an appeal to the national and 
international peace movements and anti-sanctions movements (and also individuals) to endorse this 
initiative and/or to organise an associated event. Comments on this are wellcome.
In a second mail I will highlight the Brussels session of the Tribunal, that will do research on 
the PNAC (Project for the New American Century) as the think tank behind the recent (and announced) 

I hope that we as anti-sanctions and anti-war activists can agree on the fact that this is an 
initiative that should be endorsed.

Yours in struggle for peace.
Dirk Adriaensens.
Origins of the project
The idea that had sprung up in several places upon the planet of having an international tribunal 
against the war in Iraq, was discussed and in principle supported at the Anti-War Meetings in 
Berlin, Jakarta and Geneva, Paris and Cancun. The Jakarta Peace Consensus made a declaration 
committing itself to the realization of an international war crimes tribunal. The Networks' 
Conference (European and Cordoba Networks for Peace and Human Rights) organized by the Bertrand 
Russel Peace Foundation in Brussels also devoted time and space for the discussion of the issue and 
the idea received broad support.

The working group formed at the Networks' conference organized by the Bertrand Russell Peace 
Foundation in Brussels on 26/27 June, 2003, discussed the idea and possibilities of convening an 
international tribunal to investigate and establish the crimes perpetrated against the people of 
Iraq and humanity. The group in Turkey was entrusted with the task of acting as the secretariat and 
clearing house, carrying out the coordination in close contact with the groups in Brussels, 
Hiroshima, New York, London and others.

The meeting of thet Coordination Committee in Istanbul on October 27-29 2003 decided upon the 
concept, the form and the aims of the project.

The legitimacy of the project
A war of aggression was launched despite the opposition of people and governments all over the 
world, yet there is no court or authority that will judge the acts of the US and its allies. If the 
official authorities fail, then moral authority can speak for the world.

Our legitimacy derives from:

·        Taking this initiative owing to the failure of official international institutions to hold 
accountable those who committed grave international crimes and constitute a menace to world peace.

·        Being part of the worldwide anti-war movement which expressed its opposition to this 

·        The Iraqi people resisting occupation

·        We are convinced of the duty of all people of conscience to take action against wars of 
aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other breaches of international law.

·        Acting on the basis of the struggles of the past to develop systems of peaceful 
co-existence and prevent future aggression and breaches of the UN Charter.

·        Giving voice to the voiceless victims of this war we are articulating the concerns of 
civil society as expressed in the most active parts of the social justice and peace movements.

·        Bringing the principles of international law to the forefront. Our legitimacy is earned 
through the process of achieving our aims.

The tasks of the tribunal
The first task of the tribunal is to investigate the crimes committed by the US government in 
launching the Iraq war. In spite of the world movement that condemned this war and against all 
international legislation the US government forced its premeditated war-strategy upon the world. 
Moreover the US-government requests impunity and puts itself above all international laws and 

The second task is to investigate allegations of war crimes during the aggression, crimes against 
occupation law, genocide and crimes against humanity. These may include the sanctions, the use of 
illegal weapons which kill over generations, such as uranium weapons.

The third task is the investigate and expose the broader context of the New Imperial World Order. 
The tribunal would therefore consider the doctrines of "pre-emptive war" and all its entails: 
"benevolent hegemony", "full spectrum dominance" and "multiple simultaneous theatre wars". In this 
process the tribunal will investigate the vast economic interests that are involved in this 

The tribunal would, after examining reports and evidence, listening to witnesses (Iraqi and 
internationals), hearing interventions by victims, would reach a decision.

The aims
In organising this International Tribunal we pursue four fundamental aims.

·        Our first goal is to establish the facts and to inform the public about crimes against 
peace, war crimes and crimes during the occupation, about the real goals behind this war, about the 
inspiration of the American politics and the dangers they present for world peace. This is 
especially important to contribute in breaking the wall of lies diffused by the war-coalition and 
their imbedded press.

·        For the peace movement and the global anti-war protest, the tribunal presents an 
opportunity to continue mobilisation. The tribunal should not remain an academic endeavour but 
should be backed by a strong international network. Anti-war and peace movements, which carried out 
the big mass movements against the attack on Iraq have in principle adopted the idea of indicting 
the aggressors and turning this into a campaign.

·        We consider the tribunal as a continuing process. The investigation of what happened in 
Iraq is of prime importance to restore truth and preserve collective memory against the constant 
rewriting of history. We have to challenge the silence of the international institutions and 
impress on them to fulfill their obligations to international law. In judging the recent past our 
aim is to prevent illegal wars in the future. In this process the tribunal can formulate 
recommendations on international law and expand notions of justice and ethical political awareness. 
It can contribute to break the tradition of victors' tribunals and give a voice to the victims of 
the war. In doing so we support the demand of large parts of world public opinion and the Iraqi 
people to end the occupation and restore Iraqi sovereignty.

·        The International Tribunal initiative wants to inscribe itself in a broader movement to 
stop the establishment of the new imperial world order as a permanent state of exception with 
constant wars as one of its main tools. The Tribunal can bring a moral, political and partly 
juridical judgment that contributes to build a world of peace and justice.

Form of the tribunal
The general plan is to hold an independent world tribunal with : associated events, associated 
commissions of inquiry, commissions of investigation, hearings and specific issue tribunal sessions 
in various countries, culminating in a final tribunal session in Istanbul. So far, there will be 
hearings in Brussels and Hiroshima. Other proposals at the moment include New York, Copenhagen and 
Mexico. Associated events will be held in London and Mumbaļ.

Being confronted with the paradox that we want to end impunity but we do not have the enforcement 
legal power to do so, we have to steer a middle way between mere political protest and academic 
symposiums without any judicial ambition on the one hand, and impeccable procedural trials of which 
the outcome is known beforehand. This paradox that we are just citizens and therefore have no right 
to judge in a strict judicial way and have at the same time have the duty as citizens to oppose 
criminal and war policies should be our starting point and our strenght.

Although these commissions of inquiry or investigation will be working in conformity with an 
overall concept that will apply to the whole tribunal (spelled out in the Charter), the hearings 
will also have some autonomy concerning format. By approaching the Iraq case from as many angles as 
possible (international law, war crimes, occupational law, political and economical analysis.) we 
strengthen our common objective to end impunity and resist the imperial wars. In this way the 
hearings will mutually enforce each other and all the findings will be brought together in the 
final session in Istanbul.

In order to be as inclusive as possible, we will support and recognize all endeavors to resist 
impunity. The project will endorse and support the efforts to bring national authorities and 
warmongers to national (like the complaint against general Tommy Franks in Belgium) or 
international courts (ICC).

The series of hearings will start on Wednesday April 14 2004 in Brussels and end in final tribunal 
session in Istanbul that will start on March 20 2005, second anniversary of the start of the war in 
Iraq. These will be preceded by intensive inquiries, networking and campaigning.

Appeal to the national and international movements

We address an appeal to all organizations and individuals to support this project.

We invite organizations to endorse and participate at various levels. They could:

1.       Undertake to organize a hearing or an associated event.

2.       Host a hearing.

3.       Contribute by contacts, names of people who would qualify to take part in the various 
components of the tribunal and establish the initial contacts with those people.

4.       Contribute names & contacts of persons and organizations of expertise who are already 
researching into the various aspects of the crimes and violations in question.

5.       Undertake to follow up with the preparation of certain reports and make them available for 
the use of the tribunal.

6.       Build a web page in as many languages as possible and constant flow of information.

7.       Undertake to organize the local campaigns around the tribunal.

8.       Contribute financially towards meeting the expenses involved in realizing this tribunal.

We endorse the initiative of the World Tribunal on Iraq

Name : ..............      Country : ...........

Email : ..............

I sign in my personal name       O          I sign in name of my organisation         O

Organisation :  ...........................

Send back to :

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