October 14, 2005
International Clearing House

Iraq and the Laws of War

by Francis A. Boyle

On 19 March 2003 President Bush Jr. commenced his criminal war against Iraq by ordering a so-called decapitation strike against the President of Iraq in violation of a 48-hour ultimatum he had given publicly to the Iraqi President and his sons to leave the country. This duplicitous behavior violated the customary international laws of war set forth in the 1907 Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities to which the United States is still a contracting party, as evidenced by paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).

Furthermore, President Bush Jr.'s attempt to assassinate the President of Iraq was an international crime in its own right. Of course the Bush Jr. administration's war of aggression against Iraq constituted a Crime against Peace as defined by the Nuremberg Charter (1945), the Nuremberg Judgment (1946), and the Nuremberg Principles (1950) as well as by paragraph 498 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956). . . .

On 1 May 2003 . . . the United States government became the belligerent occupant of Iraq under international law and practice.

This legal status was formally recognized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 of 22 May 2003. . . .

Only when that U.S. belligerent occupation of Iraq is factually terminated can the people of Iraq have the opportunity to exercise their international legal right of sovereignty by means of free, fair, democratic, and uncoerced elections . . .

Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations on land warfare flatly prohibits the change in a basic law such as a state's Constitution during the course of a belligerent occupation. . . .


[Mr. Boyle is professor of International Law at Univ. Illinois - Champaign. He is a mangna cum laude Harvard graduate and specialist in international humanitarian law.]

Enver Masud, "New Iraq Constitution a Pretext for Exploitation," The Wisdom Fund, September 16, 2003

[The constitutional process culminating in Saturday's referendum is not a sign of Iraqi sovereignty and democracy taking hold, but rather a consolidation of U.S. influence and control. . . . The proposed constitution would strip Iraqis of future control over their nation's oil wealth by opening all new oil exploration and production to foreign oil companies.--Phyllis Bennis, "THE IRAQI CONSTITUTION: A Referendum for Disaster," Institute for Policy Studies, October 13, 2005]

Patrick Cockburn, "Deep divisions remain over Iraq's constitution as the country prepares to vote," Independent, October 15, 2005

[All of the women's groups are against this constitution, but unfortunately, a big majority is voting yes, because they are under the impression that a vote yes will lead to more secure times in Iraq, and it's not just something that they are assuming, but they were told this over and over again by the puppet government that has been selected by the Americans and also by the occupying forces, that a vote yes is a yes for democracy.--"Iraqi Feminist Yanar Mohammed on the Iraq Constitution Vote," DemocracyNow, October 17, 2005]

[ABC World News Tonight shows an Iraqi marking seven ballots with a "yes"-- October 17, 2005]

[Iraqi election officials said today that they were investigating what they described as "unusually high" vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces, where as many 99 percent of the voters were reported to have cast ballots in favor of Iraq's new constitution--Dexter Filkins, "Vote Totals Under Inquiry in 12 Iraqi Provinces, Panel Says," New York Times, October 17, 2005]

Mark LeVine, "Iraq's Oslo moment," Asia Times, October 18, 2005

Hatem Mukhlis, "A disastrous constitution," International Herald Tribune, October 19, 2005

Edward Wong, "Iraqi Officials Declare Charter Has Been Passed," New York Times, October 26, 2005

[. . . it is disunity, diminished sovereignty and years of future discord that lie in store for Iraq if the Constitution is not overhauled.Kanan Makiya, "Present at the Disintegration," New York Times, December 11, 2005]

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