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[casi] IRAQ: Cherie Booth Blair; John Major

Blair's Wife Faults Bush's Opposition to International Court

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 18, 2003; Page A26

On the eve of President Bush's state visit to Britain, the wife of Prime
Minister Tony Blair strongly criticized the administration's campaign
against the International Criminal Court, saying its concerns are "not well

Cherie Booth, a leading human rights lawyer, levied the criticism yesterday
during a panel discussion on human rights and international law at
Georgetown University. Most of her remarks were an academic and historical
overview of the development of international law, but she devoted a
substantial portion to countering Bush's arguments for rejecting the court.

The administration, which removed the United States from the treaty
establishing the court signed by President Bill Clinton, has argued that
with peacekeeping missions around the world, U.S. military personnel would
be subject to whims of an "unaccountable prosecutor and its unchecked
judicial power." The administration has not only rejected the court,
designed to deal with war crimes and genocide, but pressured countries to
sign bilateral agreements that would exempt the United States from the
court's jurisdiction. Seventy countries have signed such agreements, though
few are in Europe.

One hundred thirty-two countries have signed the treaty creating the court,
and 92 have ratified it. Judges and a prosecutor have been selected, and
Booth said its first case is likely to concern Congo.

Booth noted that Britain is a strong supporter of the court and has
concluded that its citizens are not threatened by its existence. "With time
we can but hope the U.S. will come to share that perspective with regard to
its own people, and recognize that the concerns it has expressed --
legitimate as they may now seem -- are not well founded," Booth said. "The
absence of the United States means we all stand to lose."

Booth said the treaty establishing the court "has it flaws" but she was
"convinced the international criminal court with independent prosecutors
putting tyrants and torturers in the dock before independent judges reflects
the postwar [post-World War II] human rights aspiration come true. It is a
shining example of how human rights might be realized under international

Booth said that while the administration says the court will expose its
citizens to politically motivated prosecutions, "the U.S. appears unwilling
to see there are various safeguards built into the stature, which ensure
that all states have nothing to fear from the court."

The court, she said, would only take on a case if a country has no
functioning judicial system or if it refused to investigate a case without
adequate explanation. The court "buttresses but does not override national
judicial systems," she said.

"It seems inconceivable that a state committed to the rule of law, such as
the U.S., would refuse to investigate and prosecute its nationals should
there be reliable evidence that they had been involved in international
crimes," she said.

But in the speech earlier this month, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton
rejected this argument. He said this theory is untested, and "whether and
under what circumstances the ICC's prosecutor will accept assertions of
national jurisdiction remains essentially unknown."

 2003 The Washington Post


UK, Friday March 28, 2003

Former Prime Minister John Major says the imposition of a Western-style
democracy In Iraq would be nearly impossible.

"I have never seen Iraq as a democracy of the Western sort," he said in a
speech in Hong Kong.

"It is going to be very difficult to install a government. The thought of a
grand coalition between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds is so improbable as to be
dismissed as absurd almost from the outset," Major said.

In 1991 it was Major who sent British troops to the Gulf after Iraq invaded


His comments contrast with those of President George W. Bush, who has said
that imposing a pluralistic democracy is part of the aims of the current war
against Iraq.

President Saddam Hussein, from Iraq's Sunni minority, has been in conflict
with the Kurds for much of his rule and has violently suppressed uprisings
among the Shia.

Mr Major said a Western-style democracy in Iraq would entail a predominance
of Shia Muslims in a future government, leading to the possibility of Iraq
and neighbouring Iran collaborating and "looking at the future together".

He said such a collaboration would most likely be viewed with suspicion by
neighbours such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both of which have turbulent
Shia minorities.


Mr Major said assuming that a Shia-dominated Iraq located next to a
mostly-Shia Iran would lead to a moderating influence across the Middle East
was a "reckless way to proceed."

Another voice against the current action in Iraq comes from none other that
President Bush's father, George Bush Senior.

"We should not march into Baghdad," he wrote in his 1998 book, A World

"To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole
Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab
hero...assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely
entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an
unwinnable urban guerilla war.

"It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."

Sky News

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