Nuremberg Precedent for Iraq War-Crime Suspects
The Nuremberg Principles, a set of guidelines established after World War II to try Nazi Party members, were developed to determine what constitutes a war crime. The principles can also be applied today when considering the conditions that led to the Iraq war and, in the process, to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, many of them children, and to the devastation of a country’s infrastructure.
In January 2003, a group of American law professors warned President George W. Bush that he and senior officials of his government could be prosecuted for war crimes if their military tactics violated international humanitarian law. U.S. officials could be prosecuted in other countries under the Geneva Convention, says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Both former President George W. Bush and senior officials in his government could be tried for their responsibility for torture and other war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. In addition, should Nuremberg principles be followed by an investigating tribunal, former President Bush and other senior officials in his administration could be tried for violation of fundamental Nuremberg principles.
The criminal abuse of prisoners in U.S. military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo are clear evidence of ill- treatment and even murder. According to the organization Human Rights First, at least 100 detainees have died while in the hands of U.S. officials in the global “war on terror,” eight of whom were tortured to death.