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The Illegality of Sanctions > Ramsey Clark: Charges Against US, British and UN leaders


Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, founder of the International Action Center, issued charges against United States, British and United Nations leaders supplemental to the nineteen charges issued by him early in 1991 and relating to the causes and conduct of the war on Iraq. These charges were issued by Mr. Clark at the International Court On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the UN Security Council on Iraq held in Madrid, Spain on the 16th and 17th of November, 1996. The complete text of the charges follows.


Criminal Complaint Against the United States of America and Others for Crimes Against the People of Iraq for Causing the Deaths of More Than 1,500,000 People Including 750,000 Children Under Five and Injury to the Entire Population By Genocidal Sanctions


This Supplemental Complaint charges:

The United States of America, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Secretary of Defense William Perry, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, State Department Spokesman, Nicholas Burns, the United Kingdom Prime Minister John Major; aided and abetted by United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, Rolf Ekeus, Chairman of UN Special Commission on Iraq, and each Member Nation of the Security Council and its UN Ambassador from 1991 to date that failed to act affirmatively to relieve death and suffering caused by United Nations Sanctions against the People of Iraq; and others to be named;

With genocide, crimes against humanity, the use of a weapon of mass destruction and other crimes specified herein.

The criminal acts charged include the deliberate and intentional imposition, maintenance and enforcement of an economic blockade and sanctions against the people of Iraq from August 6, 1990 to this date with full knowledge constantly communicated that the blockade and sanctions were depriving the people of Iraq of essentials to support and protect human life.

These essentials include medicines and medical supplies, safe drinking water, adequate food, insecticides, fertilizers, equipment and parts required for agriculture, food processing, storage and distribution, hospital and medical clinic procedures; a multitude of common items such as light bulbs and fluorescent tubes; equipment and parts for the generation and distribution of electricity, telephone and other communications, public transportation and other essential human services. Also denied the people of Iraq is knowledge of the existence of, and procedures and equipment to provide protection from, depleted uranium and dangerous chemical pollution released in the environment of Iraq by defendants. The United States has further subjected Iraq to random missile assaults which have killed civilians.

The direct consequence of such acts and others is direct physical injury to the majority of the population in Iraq, serious permanent injury to a substantial minority of the population and death to more than 1,500,000 people including 750,000 children under five years of age.


The formal criminal charges are:

1. The United States and its officials aided and abetted by others engaged in a continuing pattern of conduct from August 6, 1990 until this date to impose, maintain and enforce extreme economic sanctions and a strict military blockade on the people of Iraq for the purpose of injuring the entire population, killing its weakest members, infants, children, the elderly and the chronically ill, by depriving them of medicines, drinking water, food, and other essentials in order to maintain a large US military presence in the region and dominion and control over its people and resources including oil.

2. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials have committed a crime against humanity as defined in the Nuremberg Charter against the population of Iraq and engaged in a continuing and massive attack on the entire civilian population in violation of Articles 48, 51, 52, 54 and 55 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Convention 1977.

3. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials have committed genocide as defined in the Convention against Genocide against the population of Iraq including genocide by starvation and sickness through use of sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction and violation of Article 54, Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Civilian Population, of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Convention 1977.

4. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials have committed and engaged in a continuing course of conduct to prevent any interference with the long term criminal imposition of sanctions against the people of Iraq in order to support continuing US presence and domination of the region.

5. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials, the United Kingdom and its Prime Minister John Major and other officials with US Ambassador Madeleine Albright as a principal agent have obstructed justice and corrupted United Nations functions, most prominently the Security Council, by political, economic and other coercions using systematic threats, manipulations and misinformation to silence protest and prevent votes or other acts to end sanctions against Iraq despite reports over a period of five years by every major UN agency concerned including UNICEF, UN World Food Program, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which describe the deaths, injuries and suffering directly caused by the sanctions.

6. The United States, its President Bill Clinton and other officials have engaged in a continuing concealment and cover-up of the criminal assaults during January through March 1991 on nuclear reactors, chemical, fertilizer, insecticide plants, oil refineries, oil storage tanks, ammunition depots and bunkers in violation of humanitarian law including Article 56, Protecting Works and Installations Containing Dangerous Forces, exposing the civilian population of Iraq, and military personnel of Iraq, the United States and other countries to radiation and dangerous chemical pollution which continues for the population of Iraq causing deaths, sickness and permanent injuries including chemical and radiation poisoning, cancer, leukemia, tumors and diseased body organs.

7. The United States and its officers have concealed and failed to help protect the population of Iraq from the cover-up of the use by US forces of illegal weapons of a wide variety including rockets and missiles containing depleted uranium which have saturated soil, ground water and other elements in Iraq and are a constant presence affecting large areas still undefined with deadly radiation causing death, illness and injury which will continue to harm the population with unforeseeable effects for thousands of years.

8. The United States and its officials have endeavored to extort money tribute from Iraq and institutionalize forced payments of money on a permanent basis by demanding more than one half the value of all oil sales taken from Iraq be paid as it directs as the price for reducing the sanctions to permit limited oil sales insufficient to feed the people and care for the sick. This is the functional and moral equivalent of holding a gun to the head of the children of Iraq and demanding of Iraq, pay half your income or we will shoot your children.

9. The United States has violated and condoned violations of human rights, civil liberties and the US Bill of Rights in the United States, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to achieve its purpose of complete domination of the region.

10. President Clinton, Ambassador Albright, Nicholas Burns and Rolf Ekeus have systematically manipulated, controlled, directed, misinformed, concealed from and restricted press and media coverage about conditions in Iraq, compliance with UN requirements, and the suffering of the people of Iraq to maintain overwhelming and consistent media support for genocide. This has been done in the face of their proclaiming that the deaths of more than half a million children is "worth it" to control the region, that Saddam Hussein is responsible for all injury and could prevent this genocide by not putting "his yacht on the Euphrates this winter," or by shutting down his "palace for the winter and using that money to buy food and medicine" and by insisting that the sanctions will be maintained until a government acceptable to the US is installed in Iraq.

- Ramsey Clark, New York, November 14, 1996

> International Action Centre.


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