Appeal by 1200 Lawyers in Opposition to Attacking Iraq

 

We oppose an attack against Iraq and support the use of peaceful means in resolving the problem of weapons of mass destruction.

Including the 100,000 troops deployed in Kuwait, the United States has already assembled a force of 150,000 troops in the Persian Gulf region and is conducting war training. This year alone the US has conducted 10 bombing runs in the no-flight zone over southern Iraq.

Asserting that Iraq is a member of an "axis of evil," President Bush claims that Iraq's President Hussein intends to launch another invasion of nearby countries with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Under the pretext of a preemptive strike in self-defense, President Bush declares that the US will not rule out the use of military force to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and overthrow its government.

But a preemptive strike clearly lacks any justification under international law, and using military force to overthrow a government violates Article 2.4 of the UN Charter. War brings the greatest harm to the innocent people of a country, and it was in profound contrition over this fact that the United Nations gave precedence to the use of peaceful means for resolving threats to peace, and in principle banned the threat or use of force by sovereign nations.

It is inexcusable that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 runs counter to this trend. WMD inspections that began with Iraq's agreement yielded a report which was submitted to the Security Council on January 27 and which found no nuclear weapons development or clear evidence that Iraq is developing chemical or other weapons. Despite instances in which Iraq has refused to cooperate, this would call for a conclusion that continuation of inspections is necessary, not itself provide grounds for an armed attack.

Nevertheless, President Bush suggested in his State of the Union Address of January 28 that the US might strike Iraq at its own discretion. But even if Iraq does have WMD, peaceful means should be used to dispose of and eliminate them because current international law does not allow the arbitrary use of force against a sovereign nation. The UN Charter approves the use of force only in self-defense, and only until the UN Security Council takes the necessary measures. The Security Council should not make light of its responsibility to fully use every peaceful means embodied in the UN Charter.

If the US government uses force against Iraq at its own discretion, it will surely be censured for mounting an invasion, which is a crime under international law. If force is used against Iraq, the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be the only international body that could fairly and independently try the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide that would arise from the use of force, and preparations for the ICC's establishment are now underway in The Hague. Yet, persistent efforts by the US government to hobble the ICC give priority to military force, go against the powerful tide of international law, and violate the obligation to resolve conflicts peacefully.

There is no telling what might happen if a force of over 200,000 troops is assembled. If the forces now arrayed are not withdrawn, it is possible that even an "unintended" use of force could occur, and once an act of force is committed, it will surely result in carnage including civilians, and in heavy environmental damage. It is clear that this is the worst choice as a means "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," as stated in the Preamble of the UN Charter. What is more, plans by the US to use nuclear weapons in an attack against Iraq are in violation of international law as confirmed in an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, and therefore must be censured.

Japan's government shows that it is prepared to cooperate with a US attack on Iraq by taking actions that include sending an Aegis-equipped warship to the Indian Ocean, but because the Bush administration's war policy violates international law, cooperating with that policy makes Japan a party to an illegal war. Japan's government should instead make active diplomatic efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution, and take the initiative in demonstrating that the wisdom of the sun is superior to the force of the north wind. Certainly now is the time for Japan to take creative action in confirming "that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want," as stated in the Preamble to Japan's Constitution. War is not the answer.

 

February 12, 2003

 

Sponsors:

Masahiro IGARASHI, Professor, Kanazawa University

Motoya ISHIKAWA, Former President, the Japanese Lawyers for Freedom (JLF)

Masanori IKEDA, Vice-President, Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (JALANA)

Motoya ISHIKAWA, Former President, the Japanese Lawyers for Freedom (JLF)

Masanobu INOUE, Lawyer

Seiichi UEDA, Former President, the Japanese Lawyers for Freedom (JLF)

Nao UGAJIN, President, the Japanese Lawyers for Freedom (JLF)

Masatoshi UCHIDA, Lawyer

Kenji URATA, Professor, Waseda University

Yoshihiro ETO, President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Nobuhiko ENOMOTO, Former President, the Japanese Democratic Lawyers Association (JDLA)

Kenichi OHKUBO, Secretary General, the Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (JALANA)

Satoki ODANAKA, Former President, Law Section of the Democratic Scientists (MINKA)

Michiatsu KAINO, President, Law Section of the Democratic Scientists (MINKA)

Akio KIOI, Lawyer

Hirohisa KITANO, President, the Japan Democratic Lawyers Association (JDLA)

Tomofumi KINOSHITA, Professor, Kobe Gakuin University

Akihiko KIMIJIMA, Professor, Hokkai Gakuen University

Shigefumi GOH, Vice-President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Takasuke KOBAYASHI, Professor Emeritus, Aoyama Gakuin University

Yasuo KOBAYASHI, Vice-President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Takuro SAKAKIBARA, President, the Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (JALANA)

Touichiro SAWAFUJI, Secretary General, the Japan Democratic Lawyers Association (JDLA)

Makoto SHIMIZU, Professor, Kanagawa University

Akira TATEMATSU, Chair, Young Lawyers Association - Attorneys and Academics Section

Kouken TSUCHIYA, Lawyer

Makoto TOYODA, Former President, the Japanese Lawyers for Freedom (JLF)

Susumu NAKATA, Former President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Osamu NIIKURA, Secretary General, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Hideo NIWANAYAMA, Former President, the Japan Democratic Lawyers Association (JDLA)

Isamu FUJITA, Former President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

Asaho MIZUSHIMA, Professor, Waseda University

Kunio MIYAZATO, Lawyer

Hiroshi YAMAMOTO, Lawyer

Hiroaki YOSHIZAWA, Vice-President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA)

 

Endorsers as shown in a compiled list