It has been 18 years since the invasion of Iraq by the United States of America and Great Britain. In the nearly two decades that have passed, Iraq has been in a constant state of terror and destruction due to the catastrophic environment American forces have left in its footsteps.
The invasion of Iraq started on March 20, 2003, when American-led forces invaded Iraq, striking the capital city of Baghdad. The unlawful attacks continued as the coalition conducted an amphibious attack from the Gulf to secure Basra (south of Iraq) and its oil fields, targeting further regions with military overflights. After 21 days of continuous bombings, Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, marking the beginning of the occupation that has had disastrous and devastating effects on the people of Iraq and the stability of the country and the world.
Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) hereby demands the creation of an independent, international tribunal to investigate and prosecute those leaders responsible for the illegal war in Iraq, as well as for the crimes committed during the occupation, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. In that sense, GICJ demands a fair and impartial tribunal, constituted under international law, that will weigh responsibility and provide much needed accountability for the grave crimes committed by the invading countries, including but not limited to the crime of aggression.
Human Rights Violations During the Occupation of Iraq
Under the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, the civilian population suffered from systematic and gross violations of human rights. These violations included torture, extrajudicial executions, trafficking of persons and arbitrary detention.
18 years later, the only stable element of the country’s landscape is the rampant and systemic corruption, starting with the highest levels of the government. Many of these violations continued under the successive governments established under the occupation and whose security apparatus and methodology of operation is based on force and oppression.
The destruction of a functioning government in Iraq also produced a national health care and education crisis, congenital birth defects and other health issues, mass displacements, family separations, and the physical destruction of a culture and country. Moreover, the destruction of Iraq has led to the rise of ISIS, resulting in more chaos at national and international level for those who have fallen victim to ISIS-inspired terrorism.
The Iraqi people are desperate. It is therefore unsurprising that they constantly take to the streets and relentlessly demand for a complete dismantle of the sectarian regime in order to build a real democracy.
A Call for Justice
GICJ urges the United Nations, the international community, members of the “coalition of the willing” and the occupying States to finally assume their responsibilities and take the necessary steps to begin the process of justice for Iraq and its people. We are well aware that it is not possible to address all of the violations and injustices committed in Iraq and its people, but we come together in solidarity and urgently call on the above-mentioned bodies to:
An international legal tribunal
We call for the international community to empanel an international and impartial tribunal to investigate and prosecute all people responsible for the planning and execution of the Iraq War, and for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the course of that war.
We call for this international tribunal to be composed of fair and impartial judges, versed in international law, who will provide due process to those accused and who will ensure that the proceedings and outcomes, whatever they may be, contribute to civilizing and pacifying our chaotic world.
An official apology
An apology to the Iraqi people is long overdue. Along with taking responsibility for their unlawful actions, all the governments of the “coalition of the willing” should issue an official apology to Iraq and its citizens. An official apology would be the first step in fulfilling the obligation of compensation stipulated under Article 36 of the Articles on State Responsibility.
Restitution and Compensation
All the governments of the states comprising the “coalition of the willing” must compensate the Iraqi people for both material and moral injury sustained as a result of the invasion and occupation.
This would include the costs of rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure, government institutions, schools and private property that was bombed or damaged during the war or occupation.
Removal of all weapons and an environmental remediation
Article 35 of Protocol I, a 1977 amendment of the Geneva Conventions specifically states that, “It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material method of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.” It also prohibits the employment of “methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage….”
In its use of white phosphorus and radioactive weapons, the U.S., U.K. and all the members of the “coalition of the willing” committed a direct violation of international humanitarian law. All involved countries must undertake and finance an environmental clean-up, specifically, the removal of dangerous weapons and ammunition still present in the country and all toxins and radioactive remnants.
Restoration of the health system
Health services and infrastructure should be restored to pre-invasion levels, which at one time were the best in the region. Measures must also be introduced to ensure the safety of all health workers and practitioners.
Protection of internally and externally displaced persons
The occupying countries, in cooperation with international human rights bodies like UNHCR, ICRC and UNAMI, should offer financial and political support to refugees, in accordance with UN resolution 1770 of August 10, 2007.
Find disappeared persons
Many of those who have disappeared languish in prisons, are executed, or have died in custody as a consequence of torture and abuse. It is imperative that these cases be disclosed in accordance with the convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED) implemented in Iraq in 2010.
Appointment of a Special Rapporteur
It is imperative that the human rights abuses inflicted on the Iraqi people by the Iraqi authorities, the American occupation, foreign mercenaries and regional powers still present in the country be closely monitored and documented. The appointment of a special rapporteur is a critical first step in achieving justice for the Iraqi people.
United for Justice in Iraq
On March 20, 2003, by standing by as the “coalition of the willing” unlawfully invaded Iraq, the UN failed to uphold its mission, purpose and international law.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq “cannot be justified under any reasonable interpretation of international law...” Thus, we call for a renewed commitment to the international system and a vision of collective security based on international law.
 S/RES/1770 (2007) “assist vulnerable groups, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and promote the protection of human rights and judicial and legal reform (...) should take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of affected civilians, and should create conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons”.
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Invasion of Iraq and its Aftermath
|The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq: 18 Years of Terror and Destruction|
|Iraq and the Betrayal of a People – Impunity Forever?|
|The Iraq war: 14 Years of Denial|
Arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances and death penalty
|GICJ Expresses Outrage Over Drastic Surge in Killings of Iraqi Activists|
|GICJ Updates the Committee of Enforced Disappearances|
Torture and Detention
Freedom of Assembly and Human Rights Defenders
|The World Must Listen to the Young Voices in Iraq|
|GICJ calls on the United Nations to intervene to protect Iraqi demonstrators|
|Victims of the October 2019 Uprising in Iraq|
|The Plight of Iraqi Women|
|Iraq: Violence Against Peaceful Protests|
GICJ's Engangement with the UN Human Rights Council