War crimes are “violations of the laws or customs of war”; including murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory, the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, the killing of hostages, the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity.
The term crimes against humanity has come to mean anything atrocious committed on a large scale. The term originated in the 1907 Hague Convention preamble, which codified the customary law of armed conflict. This codification was based on existing State practices that derived from those values and principles deemed to constitute the “laws of humanity,” as reflected throughout history in different cultures.
After World War I, the Allies, in connection with the Treaty of Versailles, established in 1919 a commission to investigate war crimes that relied on the 1907 Hague Convention as the applicable law.
In 1945, the United States and other Allies developed the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis and Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), sitting at Nuremberg, which contained the following definition of crimes against humanity in Article 6(c):
“Crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.”
The list of the specific crimes contained within the meaning of crimes against humanity has been expanded since Article 6(c) of the IMT to include, in the ICTY and the ICTR, rape and torture. The statute of the ICC also expands the list of specific acts. In particular, the ICC statute adds the crimes of enforced disappearance of persons and apartheid. Further, the ICC statute contains clarifying language with respect to the specific crimes of extermination, enslave- ment, deportation or forcible transfer of population, torture, and forced pregnancy.
To some extent, crimes against humanity overlap with genocide and war crimes. But crimes against humanity are distinguishable from genocide in that they do not require an intent to “destroy in whole or in part,” as cited in the 1948 Genocide Convention, but only target a given group and carry out a policy of “widespread or systematic” violations. Crimes against humanity are also distinguishable from war crimes in that they not only apply in the context of war—they apply in times of war and peace.
Crimes against humanity have existed in customary international law for over half a century and are also evidenced in prosecutions before some national courts.
All States can exercise their jurisdiction in prosecuting a war crimes perpetrator irrespective of where the crime was committed. It also means that all States have the duty to prosecute or extradite, that no person charged with that crime can claim the “political offense exception” to extradition, and that States have the duty to assist each other in securing evidence needed to prosecute. But of greater importance is the fact that no perpetrator can claim the “defense of obedience to superior orders” and that no statute of limitation contained in the laws of any State can apply. Lastly, no one is immune from prosecution for such crimes, even a head of State.
Guantanamo Bay - The US War Crimes Central
Guantanamo Bay is an illegal detainment facility located in Cuba. The facility is operated by Joint Task Force Guantánamo of the United States government since 2002 in Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In 2001, President George W. Bush signed an executive order that stipulated (without legal authority) that the US military could indefinitely detain any non-citizen who was believed to be involved in international terrorism. After the US Justice Department ill-advised that the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp could be considered outside US legal jurisdiction, prisoners of war captured in Afghanistan and civilians kidnapped by the US government (CIA rendition flights) were moved there beginning in early 2002. After the Bush administration unlawfully asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on June 29, 2006 that they were entitled to the protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Following this, on July 7, 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that prisoners would in the future be entitled to protection under Common Article 3. No future date has ever been stated meaning the US government continues to violate the law in regards to handling prisoners of war - a war crime.
Guantanamo Bay is the symbol of the United States’ war crimes and crimes against humanity. It contains all the concrete evidence to successfully indict and convict top US government officials including George W bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, George Tenet, Joe Biden and Barack Obama for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace. Guantanamo Bay is the United States’ War Crimes Central. It was created in violation of international laws and treaties. It was created by the US government under George W Bush in direct violation of international law. Everyone who has ever worked there or is now working there can be charged with war crimes because the facility contains civilians and prisoners of war who were captured in battle or kidnapped from their homes and illegally deported to the US detainment facility - Guantanamo Bay.
Individual or mass deportations of civilians and or POWs are war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined at the Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II, and war crimes under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. If there is enormous loss of life, deportation may constitute genocide, namely the intent to kill or injure, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, according to legal scholar Alfred de Zayas of Rutgers University.
The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 explicitly forbids deportations in conditions of war. “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Also forbidden is the common practice of the occupying power deporting or transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. The convention allows the “total or partial evacuation” of any area where either “the security of the population or imperative military reasons” require, even outside the occupied territory, “when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement,” but the evacuated civilians must be returned to their homes “as soon as hostilities in the area have ceased.”
Guantanamo Bay has from the very beginning been created to usurp US law and International law. The US Justice Department knew that Guantanamo Bay was and is illegal and that is why the US government build it on Cuban soil, not on US soil. They asserted that since it wasn’t legally on US soil POWs and illegally kidnapped civilians would not be not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions but most importantly the US government would not be accountable for and would not be indicted, nor punished, for the crimes they commit at Guantanamo Bay, in direct violation of both US and International Law. They are wrong. The US government is accountable for their crimes. US Law states:
Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death. ~
US Code TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441 War crimes
Apart from the gross violation of International Laws and Treaties (deportation of civilian of an occupied territory, torture, the killing of hostages and the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war) by the US government, the US law that the US government is guilty of in regards to Guantanamo Bay is kidnapping. In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or asportation of a person against the person’s will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority.
The majority of prisoners held illegally in Guantanamo Bay are civilians. The majority of prisoners are not terrorists but civilians that the US government ordered the CIA to kidnap and deport to illegal detainment facilities including Guantanamo Bay. The majority of prisoners are civilians who were ordered kidnapped because the US government had no evidence to legally arrest them and the US government lacked the necessary evidence to legally extradite them. Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state requests and obtains from another nation or state the surrender of a suspected or convicted criminal. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties. Where extradition is compelled by laws kidnapping is a direct violation of the law. The consensus in international law is that a state does not have any obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state as one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders. The United States attacked Afghanistan after the Afghan Taliban government exercised this legal sovereign right and legal authority over the people within Afghanistan’s border. The US violated both US and International laws when they attacked Afghanistan - meaning that according to the law the US attack on Afghanistan was and is to this day illegal. According to International Law the Taliban and the state of Afghanistan did not have any legal obligation to surrender an alleged criminal (bin Laden) to a foreign state (the United States).
Because of international law and treaties the George W bush ordered the CIA to commence the “Extraordinary rendition” of anyone opposed to the illegal US policies - mainly Afghanistan and Iraq or any alleged criminal(s) the US government wanted but could not extradite legally. “Extraordinary rendition” is an extrajudicial procedure and policy of the United States in which suspects, generally civilians the US government claim (without evidence) are terrorists or supporters of terrorist organizations, are deported illegally to countries for imprisonment and interrogation (tortured). The procedure differs from extradition as the purpose of the rendition is to illegally extract information from suspects using torture, while extradition is used to legally return fugitives so that they can stand trial or fulfill their sentence. The CIA Extraordinary rendition of suspects to other countries circumvents U.S. laws prescribing due process and prohibiting torture. Guantanamo Bay is a US government facility that is used to circumvent US laws. It is a US government facility where the US government has willingly and willfully committed war crimes. The following is what the United States considers to be “War Crimes”. The US government is unequivocally guilty of war crimes - according to the following US law.
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441 War crimes
Definition.— As used in this section the term “war crime” means any conduct—
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 (as defined in subsection (d)) when committed in the context of and in association with an armed conflict not of an international character;…
(d) Common Article 3 Violations.—
(1) Prohibited conduct.— In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:
(A) Torture.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
(B) Cruel or inhuman treatment.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act intended to inflict severe or serious physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions), including serious physical abuse, upon another within his custody or control.
(D) Murder.— The act of a person who intentionally kills, or conspires or attempts to kill, or kills whether intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing any other offense under this subsection, one or more persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including those placed out of combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause.
(F) Intentionally causing serious bodily injury.— The act of a person who intentionally causes, or conspires or attempts to cause, serious bodily injury to one or more persons, including lawful combatants, in violation of the law of war.
(G) Rape.— The act of a person who forcibly or with coercion or threat of force wrongfully invades, or conspires or attempts to invade, the body of a person by penetrating, however slightly, the anal or genital opening of the victim with any part of the body of the accused, or with any foreign object.
(H) Sexual assault or abuse.— The act of a person who forcibly or with coercion or threat of force engages, or conspires or attempts to engage, in sexual contact with one or more persons, or causes, or conspires or attempts to cause, one or more persons to engage in sexual contact.
(I) Taking hostages.— The act of a person who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons.
In April 2004, Cuban diplomats tabled a United Nations resolution calling for a UN investigation of Guantanamo Bay.
In May 2007, Martin Scheinin, a United Nations rapporteur on rights in countering terrorism, released a preliminary report for the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report stated the United States violated international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that, “Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, [or] a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law.” Thus, if the detainees are not classified as prisoners of war, this would still grant them the rights of the Fourth Geneva Convention as opposed to the more common Third Geneva Convention which deals exclusively with prisoners of war.
Henry King, Jr., a prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, has argued that the type of tribunals at Guantanamo Bay “violates the Nuremberg principles” and that they are against “the spirit of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.”
European Union members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have protested the legal status and physical condition of detainees at Guantánamo. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch has criticized the Bush administration over this designation in its 2003 world report, stating: “Washington has ignored human rights standards in its own treatment of terrorism suspects. It has refused to apply the Geneva Conventions to prisoners of war from Afghanistan, and has misused the designation of ‘illegal combatant’ to apply to criminal suspects on U.S. soil.” On May 25, 2005, Amnesty International released its annual report calling the facility the “gulag of our times”. Lord Steyn called it “a monstrous failure of justice,”
On January 13, 2006, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the U.S. detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the “advanced interrogation technique” known as “waterboarding”, calling it a form of torture: “An institution like Guantánamo, in its present form, cannot and must not exist in the long term.
In May 2006, the Attorney General for England and Wales Lord Goldsmith said the camp’s existence was “unacceptable” and tarnished the U.S. traditions of liberty and justice. “The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol,” he said. Also in May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture condemned prisoners’ treatment at Guantánamo Bay, noted that indefinite detention constitutes per se a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, and called on the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo facility. In June 2006, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion urging the United States to close the camp.
In June 2006, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter stated that the arrests of most of the roughly 500 prisoners held there were based on “the flimsiest sort of hearsay”. In September 2006, the UK’s Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who heads the UK’s legal system, went further than previous British government statements, condemning the existence of the camp as a “shocking affront to democracy”.
According to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantánamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don’t need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross inspected the camp in June 2004. In a confidential report issued in July 2004 and leaked to the New York Times in November 2004, Red Cross inspectors accused the U.S. military of using “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions” against prisoners. The inspectors concluded that “the construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture.”
On June 12, 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that the Guantanamo captives were entitled to the protection of the United States Constitution.
Article Two of the United States Constitution (Section 4) states that “The President, Vice President, and all other civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” War crimes are High Crimes under US and International Law. Kidnapping is a High Crime under US and International Law. Murder is a High Crime under US and International Law. Torture is a High Crime under US and International Law. With the long train of abuses and usurpations by the US government, by both the Democrats and the Republicans, it is the right, it is the duty of all Americans to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.