There is abundant evidence that war crimes were committed by the Bush Administration. Indeed more evidence appears on an almost daily basis.
The question is very simple: Will any officials of the Bush administration who are responsible for the “war on terror” be indicted and held accountable for those crimes?
People of conscience must insist on accountability for the actions of U.S. officials. The status of the United States as a major world power does not make its officials less accountable for their crimes than the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia or any other country. It is the obligation of citizens who recognize that no country or government is above the law of human decency, as currently embedded in international law, to demand public accountability in a court of law. Only then will it be clear that this country repudiates the course set by the Bush administration on the issues of “preemptive war” and treatment of prisoners.
At the beginning of the 20th century Elihu Root said that “international law relies for its effectiveness on the approval of international public opinion.” At the beginning of the 21st century, when international law against war crimes and crimes against humanity are clearly established, indictment of US officials for their crimes rests on the arousal of national public opinion.
War Criminals Watch exists for one and only one reason: to ensure that prosecutions of high officials of the Bush administration who are guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" take place now. Key actors in the Bush administration must be held accountable and prosecuted for the crimes they stand accused, in the eyes of world public opinion, of having committed. Editorialists may demand action. Politicians will call for it. But only an energized and politically active public can make those prosecutions happen. They need to be publicly shamed and prevented from occupying powerful or influential positions within our society. As in other cases where authorities have gone beyond US and international law as well as the laws of decency, only a public accounting will restore lawful conduct.
We fear that charges will not be brought despite plentiful evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed and despite international and national laws defining war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Murder, torture, dislocated lives. These are not small things. Nevertheless "reasons of state" often trump justice for individuals in their ones or in their millions.
War Criminals Watch calls on people of conscience to publicly scrutinize those whose acts require prosecution. Former officials now have new roles in society: professor, lawyer, corporate manager, etc., etc. Students and professors, especially, have an obligation to act as many of these accused war criminals head back to the universities to let them know that there will be no safe haven on campuses. It is our responsibility to call them out and to demand that legal proceedings take place and in a timely fashion.
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War Criminals Watch is a project of World Can't Wait