Haditha, the London Charter and War Crime Indictments

In 1942 during World War II indictments were issued concerning alleged war crimes. They were known as the London Charter and were applied to Nazi officials at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. I believe their applicability with regard to the November 19, 2005 United States marine massacre at Haditha would qualify for such prosecution.

The London Charter specifically prohibited “murder, ill-treatment…of civilian population of or in occupied territory.” Certainly the execution of twenty-four Iraqi civilians, that included women and children, would justify similar indictments for War Crimes. The London Charter also declared that Crimes Against Humanity would be punishable upon indictment and apprehension. This included “murder…and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population.”

One of the measurements that the international community needs to monitor as it seeks peace and a greater avoidance of military adventurism is whether perpetrators of unjust wars and unjust acts in war, not required by military necessity, are brought to justice. The refusal of the United States to accept jurisdiction under the International Criminal Court does not bode well for such appropriate action against American war criminals.

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