US Department of Justice wants Bush and senior cabinet members exempt from Iraq War trial

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The United States Department of Justice has requested that former President George W. Bush and the highest figures in his administration receive full exemption from being tried for the Iraq War, which the DoJ says was in line with international law.

Apart from Bush, the names listed in the paper the DoJ filed on
Tuesday are former Vice President Richard Cheney, former
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, retired four-star General
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and
former Deputy Secretary of Defense and President of the World
Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi single mother of three who became a
refugee, filed a complaint in March in the San Francisco federal
court, claiming that the war in her country can be judged as a
‘crime of aggression’, according to the same legal standards that
the Nuremberg Tribunal used for convicting Nazi war criminals of
World War II.

Saleh is the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.

The reason for the decision is connected with the ‘Westfall Act’
certification. The 1988 law gives the Attorney General the power
to personally decide whether the United States is actually a
defendant in the case. This in turn allows the granting of
absolute immunity to politicians for actions carried out while in
the government’s employ.

Inder Comar of Comar Law has agreed to take the case. The
San-Francisco-based firm normally specializes in support to
private companies, particularly those in the tech industry. Comar
met with Saleh at her home in Jordan to discuss the case.

Chief counsel Comar wrote on the War Is a Crime website
explaining that, “The DoJ claims that in planning and waging
the Iraq War, ex-President Bush and key members of his
Administration were acting within the legitimate scope of their
employment and are thus immune from suit.”

The lawsuit filed by Saleh says that Cheney, Rumsfeld and
Wolfowitz orchestrated the Iraq War in 1998 as part of their
involvement with the ‘Project for the New American Century’, a
Washington DC-based non-profit organization that pushed for the
overthrow of Iraq’s former leader, Saddam Hussein.

 

Salleh then alleges that the tragedy of September 11, 2001, was
pitched to other members of the Bush cabinet as the perfect excuse
to scare the American public into supporting the war in Iraq. The
lawsuit also claims that the United States failed to obtain United
Nations approval for the invasion, making it an illegal and
aggressive act of war.

According to Corey Hill, who is a member and outreach coordinator
for Global Exchange, an international human rights organization,
Comar Law is invoking something called the Alien Tort Statute,
which is a 1789 law that permits a foreign national to sue the US
federal court for injuries “committed
in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United
States.”
 Hill explained this in his article for YES!
Magazine, for which he also writes.

All the defendants in the case have been summoned to appear in
accordance with the usual legal proceedings. The trial is expected
to start in early 2014.

There are, however, several problems that could arise with the
allegations. As Paul Stephen, who teaches law at the University of
Virginia and is former international law consultant for the
Department of State told YES! Magazine, that it would be difficult
to sue a government employee for acting “under
the scope of employment” 
in this case, because of the
modified nature of the Westfall Act, giving officials more scope
for action.

The second problem may arise from the fact that their actions did
not take place on US soil, making it difficult to validate the
accusation.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

And lastly, “courts
aren’t open to ruling on matters of a political nature”
, Hill
said in reference to a doctrine in US Constitutional Law that
separates clear-cut court cases with those better left to the
legislative and executive branches of the government. This doctrine
then means that the invasion of Iraq is a political case — not a
legal one.


“If the expectation is that a federal court will declare that the
invasion, although duly authorized by Congress, violated
international law and thus violates U.S. law, I would respond
that we walked up and down that hill with respect to Vietnam…
No federal court ever has recognized such a claim,”
 Hill
explained.

But Comar is optimistic in so far that in order for the Westfall
Act to work in this case, the US government would have to prove
that the act of preparing the invasion through a non-profit
organization took place within office. But since that was not the
case, the law cannot be invoked here. He further explained to Hill
that separating a political matter from a purely legal one will
also not be easy for the US government, as it may often be a very
blurry line.  Comar expanded on this position to the ‘War Is a
Crime’ website.


“The good news is that while we were disappointed with the
certification, we were prepared for it,” he said. “We do not see
how a Westfall Act certification is appropriate given that Ms.
Saleh alleges that the conduct at issue began prior to these
defendants even entering into office. I think the Nuremberg
prosecutors, particularly American Chief Prosecutor Robert
Jackson, would be surprised to learn that planning a war of
aggression at a private non-profit, misleading a fearful public,
and foregoing proper legal authorization somehow constitute
lawful employment duties for the American president and his or
her cabinet.”

Former US vice-president Dick Cheney (AFP Photo)

Republished from: RT

  • Wow, and those are the main clowns we want on trial. The criminals in charge who lied their asses off for a war crime. Come on justice you can do this.

  • David Mende

    So, then, any american soldier who deliberately murders civilians in another country cannot be tried on american soil. Is this the upshot? American courts only prosecute hopespun crime. Big Gov is a law unto itself. This explains a lot.

  • Cal

    Actually since Bush was already indicted as a war criminal he can be tried in the US courts so ““courts
    aren’t open to ruling on matters of a political nature”, Hill said in reference to a doctrine in US Constitutional Law ” does not apply.

    Another reason that this can be tried in a US court is it is NOT a constitutionally assigned duty for a US president to make war without a declaration from the congress – it is actually against US Law – the supreme law as a matterof fact – The US Constitution and all that is in PURSUANCE THEREOF is the supreme law of THIS land and the US courts are given the duty to try and prosecute all those that do not follow US Constitutional assigned duties.

    “Salleh then alleges that the tragedy of September 11, 2001, was pitched to other members of the Bush cabinet as the perfect excuse to scare the American public into supporting the war in Iraq.”
    This brings in other things besides was the contract broken by Bush and his administration that was created when he became a US president. Such as:

    Title 42 U.S.C. § 1986. Action for neglect to prevent conspiracy: Every person who, having knowledge that any of the wrongs conspired to be done, and mentioned in the preceding section [42 USCS § 1985], are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of the same, neglects or refuses to do so, if such wrongful act be committed, shall be liable to the party injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by such wrongful act, which such person by reasonable diligence could have prevented;…

    28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism: the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
    Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.

    42 USC § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights: Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution… (this might be a reach, but since the Patriot Act adn others were created within Bush’s “reign” Ibelieve it applies.)

    Title 42 U.S.C. § 1986. Action for neglect to prevent conspiracy: Every person who, having knowledge that any of the wrongs conspired to be done, and mentioned in the preceding section [42 USCS § 1985], are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of the same, neglects or refuses to do so, if such wrongful act be committed, shall be liable to the party injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by such wrongful act, which such person by reasonable diligence could have prevented;… (not totally sure this could be tied in, but possibly.)

    Murder in the First since Bush ordered it. Quite possibly mass murder.

    So how does these people say US courts do NOT have jurisdiction? Incorrect.

    That means that Corey Hill is either ignorant of constitutional law – not “progressive law” which is a totally different thing, communistic in fact, or is lying.

    ‘”No federal court ever has recognized such a claim,” Hill explained.’ It is about was the US president and his “advisors: military and civilian following the Supreme law of this land, and carryong out the duties assigned to that branch, that position.