The ICTI (International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq) has taken its first step of the movement toward the prosecution of the war crimes committed by US President George Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Japanese Prime Minister KOIZUMI Jun-ichiro. On February 1, 520 people participated in the ICTI's First Public Hearing at the Central Hall in Osaka. From the stage filled with photographs of Iraqi people and children, came horrible stories of violence, slaughter and human rights abuses in the occupied Iraq.
The ICTI movement was launched by 34 initiators in October, 2003. Now it is endorsed and supported by 542 individuals and 28 organizations.
Journalist ASANO Ken-ichi, also Professor of Doshisha University in Kyoto, made an opening statement representing initial organizers of the ICTI.
KUTSUZAWA Daizo, Secretary General of the ICTI Executive Committee, said "the ICTI goes one step ahead of the successful ICTA (International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan), which found President Bush of the US guilty of the crime of aggression in the Afghanistan war, in that it attempts to prosecute not only Bush but also Prime Minister Blair of the UK as well as Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. We need to extend our global network of the international court movement and strengthen our solidarity."
Ms. Ayse Berktay from Turkey made a solidarity appeal on behalf of World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) based in Istanbul.
Occupation Forces: Murderers and Burglars
Horrifying conditions of the occupied Iraq were presented in detail by testimony and report.
Members of ZENKO (National Assembly for Peace and Democracy) translation team, after months' of their devotion on articles of the OWC (Occupation Watch Center) website, made a remarkable report on struggles and development toward solidarity in Iraq which has been illegally occupied. The report was entitled "Criminal Conducts of the Occupation Forces and the Iraqi People's Resistance." The OWC was established by the support from many anti-war organizations worldwide in July, 2003 in Baghdad, and has been sending out valuable and precious local information about the occupied Iraq, which mass media seldom report.
"The US forces blew up the house which was informed to have sheltered terrorist suspects by a precision guided missile."
"A US soldier has bound up a young girl with her hands tied behind the back in the search of the house."
"A school girl is subjected to thorough physical examination by US soldiers on the street."
One after another, slides presented the images of violent reality of the occupation in Iraq.
The reporters pointed out the rising trend of resistance and labor movement in Iraq such as: "The Iraqi jobless workers formed a union with only 20 members, which eventually grew to be the 250,000-strong organization in only eight months" and "CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) suppressed the activities of labor unions. But the oil workers of Basra fought back by strike and successfully defeated the suppression."
They also said, "The resistance is manifestation of anger against the war of invasion waged by US-UK forces and their military rule of occupation. So long as the occupation continues, slaughters and human rights abuses would persist. What is needed now is immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces."
TOYODA Mamoru, WEEKLY MDS reporter who visited Iraq very recently, supported the information of the OWC by his testimony based on his interviews with many Iraqi civilians.
Criticizing the latest reporting, Toyoda said, "Mass media reporting is getting to be that of war correspondents. They are more interested in the activities of the forces next to them and tend to have the same viewpoint as that of troops. They fail to empathize with the pains and anger of the people who are threatened of their life and frustration of the Iraqi public who has no say about the reconstruction of their own country."
He then explained what he saw in Samawah, where Japan's Self-Defense Forces units are stationed. He testified the situation of the people in Samawah showing slide films (His series of reportage will be translated into English in the near future).
In the end, he said, "Military occupation does not simply mean that the military forces are stationed there. What is actually happening is that the society is controlled by use of violence everyday. With the groups of hundreds of thousand armed killers and burglars at large, how is it possible to offer humanitarian aids and reconstruction support? I insist that the key word is: End the Occupation Immediately."
Watchword is "Pull Out, Occupation Forces"
The illegal occupation is the product of the illegal war waged by US-UK forces on Iraq.
Lawyer HAGIO Kenta presented the case of crime of aggression in the Iraq war (The summary is presented at the end of this article).
Lawyer UCHIDA Masatoshi discussed the illegality of Japan's deploying Self-Defense Forces and accused Prime Minister Koizumi of his criminal conducts (His statement is summarized in the following section).
At the end of the Public Hearing, an appeal was adopted for ending the occupation of Iraq and withdrawal of the Self-Defense Forces.
Youth Peace Action Kansai Network proposed a joint action plan scheduled on February 22 and a Global Day of Action on March 20.
The ICTI Hyogo executive committee called for photo exhibitions in every corner of the prefecture in preparation for their scheduled Public Hearing on April 25 to let the public know the actual condition of the military occupation.
The Second Public Hearing of the ICTI will be held in ABC Hall in Tokyo on March 14.
Testimony by HAGIO Kenta
【Iraq War is Crime of Aggression】
The US justified the attack against Iraq on the ground of the right of self-defense against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as well as the Resolutions 678 and 687 of the UN Security Council.
Resolution 678 is a resolution which permitted the use of force for the first Gulf War more than ten years ago and thus it is much too old as a ground for justification. Neither can the US use Resolution 687, which is the cease-fire resolution of the Gulf War demanding disarmament as pre-requisite to the lifting of the economic sanctions. Even if it is true that Iraq had WMD, it is up to the Security Council that should decide what measures should be taken. It is illegal for the US to launch military attacks based on the ground that Iraq had the WMD. If a State attacks on another State on the reason other than self-defense, it commits crime of aggression.
The US disregards the history of international law. In the National Security Strategy released in 2002, the US declared that it has authority to determine a just war and to make the war. The US was considering such war in terms of a pre-emptive strike. There is no precedents in the international society that anticipatory self-defense was accepted.
After all, the true goal of the US attack is not self-defense. The US industries have huge business interest associated with oil concessions in the Middle East. The American military-industrial complex has an eye on the expansion of the business interest with the use of force in the region. The Iraq war is neither the war for realization of justice nor the positive war to the international society.
The US forces conducted aerial campaigns on major cities in Iraq indiscriminately and used such weapons as causing unnecessary pains to the people, while their troops committed atrocities including rapes and slaughters. Their conducts violated principles of international humanitarian law and their heavy-duty weapons broke the rule of wars about proportionality of means. It is clear that such illegal war cannot be accepted as the war of self-defense. Therefore, President Bush is liable for the crime of aggression.
Testimony by UCHIDA Masatoshi
【Deployment of Self-Defense Forces Overseas is Violation of Constitution】
The US attack on Iraq ordered by President Bush violates international law and the United Nations Charter. Prime Minister Koizumi made a law for SDF (Self-Defense Forces) dispatch in violation of the pacifist Constitution and sent SDF troops to the Iraqi battlefield where the situation is still volatile. SDF participation to the occupation is illegal and unconstitutional.
The constitutionalism of Japan is now in serious crisis. Firstly because Constitution Research Council is trying to change the Constitution. Secondly because the emergency laws are preparing the country for a war. Thirdly because established facts are being accumulated to supplement the legislations. Everybody is expecting the inevitable casualty from the SDF troops in Iraq. At the same time, everybody expects that the Iraqi people would be killed by Japanese troops during some shoot-out. How can the Japanese people accept the casualties and killings in the country where the Constitution denies the use of force and renounces war?
The deployment of the SDF troops would lead to strengthening of the domestic security system. "Fighting against terrorism" has almighty power which can quiet all discussion. If somebody is suspected of a terrorist, neither legal procedure of criminal prosecution nor application of rules of war would be necessary. Nobody would care about whether someone exercised the right of individual self-defense or collective self-defense. Piece by piece, the rule of law is broken down and torn apart.
Japan is going to be another UK of the Far East after it has destroyed its constitutionalism in the interest of "Japan-US alliance," and participated in the killing games in Iraq. Amazing things are happening. The preamble of the Constitution is being quoted when they drive SDF soldiers to the war zone abroad. The court should not hesitate to use its authority to examine the unconstitutionality of laws. We should urge the legal system to exercise its authority as the prerogative of the citizen to use sovereignty.