DEPLETED URANIUM SHELLS DECRIED
Citizens find Bush guilty of Afghan war crimes
By NAO SHIMOYACHI
A citizens' tribunal Saturday
in Tokyo found U.S. President George W. Bush guilty of war crimes for
attacking civilians with indiscriminate weapons and other arms during
the U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in Afghanistan in 2001.
The tribunal also issued recommendations for banning depleted uranium
shells and other weapons that could indiscriminately harm people,
compensating the victims in Afghanistan and reforming the United
Nations in light of its failure to stop the U.S.-led operation there.
The tribunal participants spent two years examining Bush's role as the
top commander in the war, making eight field trips to Afghanistan and
holding nearly 20 public hearings.
"Bush said that military presence in Afghanistan is self-defense," said
Robert Akroyd, a British lawyer who served as one of the five judges.
"But under international law," he said, "a defendant must pay great care
to discriminate (between) legitimate objects and civilians" in claiming
that one's act is self-defense, said Akroyd, former head of legal
studies at Aston University in Britain.
Bush failed to do so with the U.S. military's use of "indiscriminate
weapons such as the Daisy Cutter (a huge conventional bomb), cluster
bombs and depleted uranium shells," he said.
Civilians and experts who have supported the tribunal movement agreed to
work for creation of an international treaty that would prohibit the
production, stockpile and use of depleted uranium rounds, like the
Ottawa process that succeeded in 1997 in outlawing antipersonnel land
Organizers said the tribunal on Afghanistan was the latest attempt to try a head of state by the efforts of citizens.
The history of citizens' tribunals dates back to the 1960s, when the
British philosopher Bertrand Russell and others tried to examine the
acts of the U.S. government during the Vietnam War.
The Japan Times: March 14, 2004
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