31 Aug An Open Letter to Nuri al-Maliki About the ICC
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
I noted with interest your recent statement that you believe an international criminal court should be created to prosecute individuals whom you believe have committed crimes against Iraqis. As reported by Xinhua:
The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday demanded again for the United Nations to form a criminal court to prosecute those involved in the killing of Iraqis.
Maliki made his remarks during meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who arrived in Baghdad earlier in the day on an official visit.
The Turkish foreign minister’s visit is expected to defuse tensions between Iraq and Syria after Baghdad’s allegations that Damascus was harboring insurgents responsible for the recent truck bombings in Baghdad.
“Iraq’s stance is to go on demanding the UN to form an international criminal court to prosecute the perpetrators of these brutal crimes against innocent Iraqis and targeted the security and stability of Iraq,” a statement from Maliki’s office quoted him as saying.
Maliki reiterated Iraq’s firm stance of demanding Syria to handover senior members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party whom Baghdad accused of plotting the deadly bombings in Baghdad and are still in exile in neighboring Syria, the statement said.
He also pointed out that since 2004, Iraq has been submitting to Syria names, documents and evidences about the insurgents’ activities, including information about the Baathists, the statement added.
I recognize that the UN’s ill-conceived decision to create the Special Tribunal for Lebanon encourages states such as Iraq to ask for their own private international tribunals. I would like to remind you, however, that an international criminal court capable of addressing your concerns already exists. It is even helpfully named the “International Criminal Court.” As a sovereign state, Iraq is free to ratify the Rome Statute — as numerous Iraqis and human-rights groups have been urging for years — and accept the Court’s jurisdiction retroactive to 1 July 2002. Iraq could then self-refer the situation in Iraq to the Court for possible investigation and prosecution.
There is, of course, precedent for such a decision. The Iraqi Transitional Government indicated its intent to ratify the Rome Statute in March of 2005, but reversed itself two weeks later, almost certainly as a result of U.S. pressure. Your government is obviously much stronger and much more independent than its predecessor, so you should be more than capable of resisting U.S. demands this time around.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.