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War and Law

2013 Syria Crisis

Iraq War materials from WSLF and cooperating organizations

War and Law Resources

Pre-invasion materials from other organizations

Citizen Weapons Inspections

Nuclear Weapons and Law links

Civil Liberties and Government Secrecy Resources

2013 Syria Crisis Resources
The Rush to Bomb Syria: Undermining International Law and Risking Wider War, by Andrew Lichterman, Western States Legal Foundation Briefing Paper, September 2013.
Current Iraq War and Law Resources

World Tribunal on Iraq
This project, with sessions to be held in major cities around the world, aims to establish the truth about what is happening in Iraq, and to inform the public about crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes during the occupation.
Human Rights Watch Middle East Page
Human Rights Watch news releases and reports on the region, plus links to relevant news coverage. Includes HRW December April 2005 report Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees and its 2003 report Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq, and materials on the abuse of prisoners by the U.S. military.
Amnesty International Iraq Page
This page provides continuing documentation of human rights abuses in Iraq, ranging from the indiscriminate killing of civilians in military operations to abuses of detainees.
See also these Amnesty documents:

"Human Dignity Denied: Torture and Accountability in the 'war on terror'"

Full Report
The Interrogation Documents: Debating U.S. Policy and Methods, from the National Security Archive
Comprehensive collection of documents on Bush Administration policies and legal arguments regarding interrogation and other treatment of "war on terror" and Iraq detainees.
Records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union regarding torture and other abuses of U.S. detainees
On June 2, 2004, the ACLU and its allies filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding the release of information about detainees held by the United States at military bases and other detention facilities overseas. The lawsuit relates to a Freedom of Information Act request that was filed in October 2003 - almost eight months ago - with the Defense Department and other government agencies. The request seeks records concerning the treatment and interrogation of detainees in United States custody, the deaths of detainees in United States custody, and the “rendition” of detainees to countries known to use torture.
Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 122

CIA Training Manuals from the 60's and 80's and investigative memos concerning earlier controversies over U.S. human rights abuses abroad, from the National Security Archive.
Materials by Western States Legal Foundation and Cooperating Organizations on the Iraq War and International Law

Press Release: Lawyers' Groups Condemn U.S. War on Iraq as Contrary to UN Charter, March 18, 2003

Western States Legal Foundation Statement, March 17, 2003: Congress and the United Nations Must Act to Stop an Illegal War Against Iraq (pdf)

"Weapons of Mass Destruction: a Threat in Any Hands," Andrew M. Lichterman, Op Ed distributed by the Progressive Media Project, January 22, 2003

War Is Not the Path to Peace: The United States, Iraq, and the Need for Stronger International Legal Standards to Prevent War
Commentary by Andrew Lichterman and John Burroughs
Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and Western States Legal Foundation
United Nations Day, October 24, 2002
Letter to Members of the United Nations Security Council concerning the Use of Force Against Iraq
Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and Western States Legal Foundation October 8, 2002 Full letter: html pdf

Press release (pdf file)
Lawyers Tell Senate: Use of Force Against Iraq Without New Security Council Resolution Is Unlawful; Urge Congress to Uphold U.N. Charter

In a 4-page memo sent to key Senators and Representatives, international law specialists have told Congress that under the United Nations Charter the use of force by the United States against Iraq would be unlawful under present circumstances.

Issued by Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, New York, Western States Legal Foundation, Oakland, California, Michael Ratner, President, Center on Constitutional Rights, New York, and Jules Lobel, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, October 2, 2002.

Press Release (pdf download)

Nuclear Weapons in a Changed World: the Hidden Dangers of the Rush to War, WSLF Emergency Information Bulletin, Fall 2001 pdf download

Resources on War and Law

The Crimes of War Project
This web site has extensive information and commentary on the laws of war and their application. It includes a page on Iraq and the law of war, with articles on topics ranging from the obligations of occupiers to the law of prisoners of war, and an on-line book, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know
Reference Guide to the Geneva Conventions
This site, maintained by the Society of Professional Journalists, provides the full text of the Convetions, an on-line alphabetical topic index to the Convetions, and historical information.
Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (New York)
WSLF works closely with Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy. There web site has a wealth of information on international law and its application to nuclear weapons issues and U.S. military and foreign policy.
Pre-invasion materials from other organizations

Web page with a variety of materials, including links to court filings in Doe v. Bush, Massachusetts federal court case brought in Massachusetts by a coalition of U.S. service people, their parents, and members of Congress to declare Iraq war illegal.

Center for Constitutional Rights Initiative for a Uniting for Peace Resolution in the United Nations to Stop the War in Iraq

While in the U.N. system the Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security throughout the world, another procedure exists to ensure peace when the Council fails to do so. That procedure, the Uniting for Peace resolution, allows the General Assembly to meet to consider the threat to international peace and it can then recommend collective measures to U.N. Members to maintain or restore peace.

This page provides information on the Center for Constitutional Rights initiative, and on actions you can take to support it.
Tearing up the Rules: The Illegality of Invading Iraq (pdf download)
Roger Normand., et al, The Center for Economic and Social Rights Emergency Campaign on Iraq, March 2003
Important legal opinions from the United Kingdom on the legality of use of force against Iraq are now available.
The first, written prior to the U.N. Security Council passage of a new resolution concerning Ieaq arms inspections, was requested by Public Interest Lawyers on behalf of Peacerights (UK) and done by Rabinder Singh QC and Alison MacDonald, Matrix Chambers, London. The opinion demonstrates that under present circumstances, use of force against Iraq would not qualify as self defense under the UN Charter. There is no actual or imminent attack by Iraq which would justify a self-defense claim on the part of the United States or any state. This opinion is available at http://www.lcnp.org/global/IraqOpinion10.9.02.pdf

The second opinion analyzes the recent Security Council resolution on Iraq. That opinion, written on behalf of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (United Kingdom), states that --UN Security Council Resolution 1441 does not authorise the use of force by member states of the United Nations. --The UK would be in breach of international law if it were to use force against Iraq in reliance on R1441 without a further SC resolution.
The opinion:

In the Matter of the Potential Use of Armed Force by the UK Against Iraq and in the Matter of Reliance for That Use of Force on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441

Security Council Resolution 1441
No Fly Zones: the Legal Position (BBC News)

American Historians Speak Out 'Consulting' Congress On Iraq Is Not Enough (Tom Paine.com)

The Historians' Petition To Congress
We, the undersigned American historians, urge our members of Congress to assume their Constitutional responsibility to debate and vote on whether or not to declare war on Iraq.... Over 1200 American historians signed the petition.
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