||Issue No. 170||14 March 2003|
Coke or Pepsi?
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Interview: League of Nations
Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
Organising: On The Buses
Unions: National Focus
History: The Banner Room
International: The Slaughter Continues
Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Culture: Singing For The People
Review: The Hours
Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
The Locker Room
A Plea for Legal Action
Johnny's Green Card
Veto The War
Law and Order
Letters to the Editor
A Plea for Legal Action
For all the talk of "no war", I am writing to ask you to consider, and if possible do all you can with human and financial resources at your disposal, seeking legal action in the Australian court system to directly stop the current move to war against Iraq. I am hearing, at last, an increasing number of talk shows discussing the legality of a war without UN approval. Yet the point seems to be, that once there are dead bodies and screaming injured people on the ground, there may be a case for war crimes prosecution against western leaders.
I can not believe that the talk has not moved to using the judicial system to prevent such crimes. While the concentration of talk seems to be to do with the role of the International Criminal Court, an obvious point is barely touched on. If the Australian government attacks another country, without any constitutional authority, the government, or those responsible for committing our forces to a war, will be committing crimes under Australia's domestic Crimes Acts. Further, the active planning of such a war amounts to a conspiracy to commit those crimes. The threat alone of such a war also amounts to a crime, even if the victims are not within Australia's borders. Prima facie cases can easily be argued.
There must be at least two possible courses of judicial action.
The first would be to seek an injunction to prevent the PM and his government from continuing to threaten an ultra vires war. Any Australian citizen should have standing to request such an order, given that every Australian will suffer (and is already suffering) the various costs of war.
The second would be to prosecute the PM (asap) and others for a number of crimes already committed, including conspiracy to commit murder. Clearly the PM has no intention of killing individual Iraqi citizens, though such a result will be the obvious consequence of a war. There can be few cases where reckless disregard for life can be so obvious. Without power to order an attack, any consequent death is a murder. There is no protection for the PM if he acts without lawful authority, and there is no need to resort to war crimes legislation to mount a prosecution.
Prosecution for existing crimes can and should be put into the hands of all state and territory DPPs. If the DPPs do not act, then the option is available for individual citizens to prosecute. A joint presentation from your, and other organisations may be sufficient impetus for the DPPs, hopefully in unison, to consider the bases for prosecution.
If you mean what you say about avoiding a war; if you believe that such a war will lead to war crimes; if you do not want to shout at deaf ears until blood appears on our TV screens once again, then please act on this letter. Please use whatever resources or contacts you can, to at least put the PM and the cabinet on notice of the above possibilities.
I obtained your email address from the internet after seeing your organization as a signatory to the no-war petition put to the senate last September.
I do not need a reply as I hope that what I have written speaks for itself, though my contact details will be provided on request.
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