War criminals & lawsuits
It was reported in May 2003 that lawsuits were filed
in Belgium against General Tommy Franks, the US commander,
for war crimes in Iraq, including use of cluster bombs (causing
civilian casualties) and bombing essential civilian infrastructure:
alleged breaches of Geneva conventions.
A special Belgian law allows charges to be brought regardless
of where the alleged crimes took place. The US government
was outraged by the charges, and the Belgian government hastily
amended the law and denounced the lawyer who filed the case.
It was also reported in May 2003 that Tony Blair was
to be charged as a war criminal by the Greek Bar Association
before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Dimitris
Paxinos, president of the lawyers' association, told the BBC
that Blair would be charged with "crimes against humanity
and war crimes." Bush escapes being charged, as the US
is not a signatory to the ICC.
Adam Ingram, the UK Armed Forces government minister,
admitted in a BBC interview that UK forces dropped cluster
bombs in civilian areas. Richard Lloyd, director of the charity
Landmine Action, said the admission proved the UK government
knowingly breached Geneva Conventions. (Independent, 30/5/03)
In an apparent update to the above, it was reported
that legal action against Tony Blair and the UK government,
for "crimes against humanity in Iraq", was taken
(on 28/7/03) at the International Criminal Court in Hague,
by the Athens Bar Association (ABA). This concerns
22 war crimes, breaching the UN charter and the Geneva Conventions,
including the killing of civilians and human rights violations.
The ABA claimed it had strong evidence and was seeking the
indictment of Blair, but there were several hurdles to clear
(including, presumably, political ones) before the case proceeded.