By John Catalinotto on March 25, 2014
Workers World newspaper publishes below the statement of the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI), which summarizes the damages to Iraq caused by aggressive war and occupation on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the U.S.-British invasion on March 19, 2003, and raises demands for prosecution of the responsible war criminals and for reparations for the victims. WW notes that CEOSI is one of the organizers of the April 16-17 commission set for Brussels, Belgium, to make legal demands on the war criminals, mostly from the U.S. and Britain, whose crimes caused so much death and destruction in Iraq.
The illegal war and occupation of Iraq, launched by the international coalition led by the U.S. and Britain, have claimed the lives of nearly two million Iraqis; it has left five million refugees inside and outside Iraqi borders, made more than one million widows and five million orphans . The occupying forces have often used weapons banned by International Conventions, such as depleted uranium ammunition, agent orange and white phosphorus . The planners and the executors of what the international law defines as a crime against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished.
After the Iraqi national resistance forced the U.S. military to withdraw its troops, tens of thousands of advisors, contractors — especially North Americans — and security personnel remain in the country to protect the interests of the United States. Foreign elements have not abandoned their goal of controlling the economic resources of the country, since they face a government unable to guarantee its population’s most basic services.
In addition, various foreign and regional powers, such as the pro-Iranian forces, are fighting each other to gain influence and dominate Iraq using their militias against the Iraqi people.
The political process and the regime imposed are part of the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq. The policy of the regime led by Nuri al-Maliki is based on revenge, totalitarianism and sectarian division; it’s a regime that promotes and encourages acts of terrorism against civilians to prevent Iraq from regaining its sovereignty after decades of sanctions, war and occupation. According to the most conservative data, the death toll caused by the violence in the past year is around 8,000 . To this number at least 169 executions carried out without the standard legal guarantees must be added. Iraq ranks third in the use of death penalty after China and Iran. 
At the beginning of 2011, the different peaceful protests that began to struggle [and] fight against the occupation — involving trade unions, students, human rights activists, etc.,— unified their efforts in what was called the February 25th Movement  and reached a national level.
This peaceful resistance was suppressed by the state and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media, which largely led to its disappearance. However, this long journey of struggle and growing popular discontent has been the root of the popular revolution that we are witnessing today in Iraq.
Since late 2012, these demonstrations and popular and peaceful sit-ins have resumed in some western provinces; they have been spread to the south and have reached the capital, Baghdad.  Despite the government nonstop attempts to put an end to the protests, they have continued till now, especially in central and west Iraqi provinces, where people have been suffering persecution and the regime’s sectarian policies. There are many reasons for the people to take [to] the streets: corruption, sectarianism, unemployment, lack of access to basic services, illegal arrests, etc., which derive from the foreign occupation and from a class rule that triggers hatred, division, power struggles and the plundering of the national resources. In 2011, the reasons for the popular revolution were crystal clear in the mottos demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. troops and the removal of the regime.
For more than two months now, the Maliki government has been waging a war against the Iraqi people in several provinces in an attempt to end the popular revolution. Although the protests have been totally peaceful, Maliki has accused the population of these (majority Sunni) areas of being part of or supporting the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  Without any hesitation, the government continues bombing the civilians, while receiving military aid from the U.S., Russia and Iran. The bombing has caused numerous deaths and new waves of refugees.  In response to the government attacks, the population has organized itself into military councils to protect its territory and fight for what all Iraqis — from north to south — have demanded since the beginning of the occupation: prosperity, unity and national sovereignty. 
In these critical times to Iraq, CEOSI would like to express its full support for the Iraqi popular revolution — armed and peaceful — and we state that the military councils have been created for self-defense due to the total absence of legal protection and contempt for the law in Iraq; a situation where sectarian and partisan militias run the country and the government, far from ensuring the safety of citizens, exercises state terrorism, so that
1. That the aspirations of the Iraqi people’s revolution are acknowledged, as well as the Iraqi right to decide about their own destiny, without any interference after more than 25 years of wars, sanctions, and a new war and illegal occupation.
2. That the International Criminal Court fulfills its legal obligation to investigate and prosecute every single individual or group responsible for committing the war crimes, the crimes against peace and the crimes against humanity that were committed in Iraq from 2003 onwards.
The international body of justice must ensure that the top military, civil and political leaders, from all those countries that led, supported or carried out the invasion and occupation of Iraq, are accountable for their lies and for the policies that led them to commit these crimes against Iraq and its people. In this regard, the Iraq Commission in the framework of the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers there will be held in Brussels on April 16 and 17. The aim of this commission is to analyze and to implement legal measures that will prevent the criminals from going unpunished.
The International Criminal Court must comply with international law, establish war compensations and require them to be paid, both to civilian victims and to the Iraqi state, whose sovereignty and independence have been abused by acts contrary to the international law currently in force.
The United Nations must take an active and supportive role to aid those national courts that can take legal procedures against those accountable for the crimes committed against a sovereign nation. At this moment, in which the Spanish government has led the way to at least a minimum application of the Law of Universal Jurisdiction, an active defense of justice is particularly important…
Excerpted; full article (w/footnotes) link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/25/iraqi-resistance-justified-prosecute-criminals/
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