Iraqi Woman Uses Chilcot Report in War Crimes Lawsuit Against George W. Bush

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis –

bush cabal

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, first filed her lawsuit against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz in September 2013. Alleging that the Iraq War constituted an illegal crime of aggression, Saleh filed the suit on behalf of herself and other Iraqis in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

The district court dismissed Saleh’s lawsuit in December 2014, saying the defendants acted within the scope of their employment when they planned and carried out the Iraq War. Saleh then appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In her appeal, Saleh is arguing that the Bush officials were acting from personally held convictions that the US should invade Iraq, regardless of any legitimate policy reasons, and that theyknowingly lied to the public when they fraudulently tied Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Inder Comar, Saleh’s lawyer, explained, “Nuremberg held that domestic immunity was not a defense to allegations of international aggression. Everything the Germans did was legal under the law. We are asking the Ninth Circuit to reject the application of domestic immunity in this case, in line with the holdings of Nuremberg.”

On July 22, Saleh urged the Ninth Circuit to take judicial notice of portions of the Chilcot Report, which makes factual conclusions about the run-up to the Iraq War. A court can take judicial notice of a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute and can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned. That includes public records, such as reports issued by a commission of inquiry.

The report was published by the Iraq Inquiry Committee, an independent committee established by the British government, on July 6, 2016, after six years of investigation, research and drafting.

Here are four of the excerpts from the report that Saleh has submitted to the court for judicial notice:

24. President Bush decided at the end of 2001 to pursue a policy of regime change in Iraq.

68. On 26 February, 2002, Sir Richard Dearlove, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, advised that the US Administration had concluded that containment would not work, was drawing up plans for a military campaign later in the year, and was considering presenting Saddam Hussein with an ultimatum for the return of inspectors while setting the bar “so high that Saddam Hussein would be unable to comply.”

74 Mr. [UK Foreign Secretary Jack] Straw’s advice of 25 March proposed that the US and UK should seek an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to re-admit weapons inspectors. That would provide a route for the UK to align itself with the US without adopting the US objective regime change. This reflected advice that regime change would be unlawful.

89. Sir Richard Dearlove reported that he had been told that the US had already taken a decision on action – “the question was only how and when;” and that he had been told it intended to set the threshold on weapons inspections so high that Iraq would not be able to hold up US policy.

The report includes copies of notes between Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which they discussed the invasion of Iraq as early as October 2001.

Eight months before the invasion of Iraq, Blair wrote to Bush, saying “I will be with you, whatever.” In July 2002, Blair had told Bush that removing Hussein from power would “free up the region” even though Iraqis might “feel ambivalent about being invaded.”

The report concluded that Hussein posed no imminent threat on March 20, 2003, the date the US and the UK invaded Iraq. It also noted that a majority of the United Nations Security Council favored continuing UN monitoring and inspections.

Legal Experts Conclude War was Illegal

The committee also published submissions by legal experts who concluded the war was illegal and constituted aggression against Iraq.

Philippe Sands said, “Distinguished members of the legal community in the United Kingdom have also concluded without ambiguity that the war was unlawful.”

Sir Michael Wood stated, “the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law,” in that it “had not been authorized by the Security Council, and had no other legal basis in international law.”

Elizabeth Wilmshurst concurred, noting, “the facts did not justify the use of force in self-defence. Existing Security Council resolutions did not authorize the use of force. There was no other legal justification. A desire to change the regime did not give a legal basis for military action,” adding, “I regarded the invasion of Iraq as illegal.”

read more…..   http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37484-iraqi-woman-uses-chilcot-report-in-war-crimes-lawsuit-against-george-w-bush

 

Reprinted with permission from Truthout