US lawyers target officials, soldiers over war crimes

US courts hear cases concerning war crimes committed by US officials and soldiers during Iraq War

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A team of US lawyers led by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark have begun to pursue members of the Bush Administration for their part in wrongdoings resulting from the Iraq War.

The team was founded by Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman seeking justice for what she believes to be crimes committed during the war.

“The invasion resulted in the total destruction of a beautiful, peaceful country,” she told Truthout. “The invasion didn’t destroy only the country’s infrastructure, buildings and heritage; it destroyed millions of families and their dreams.”

With the assistance of her Pro Bono team of legal advisors, Saleh filed motions in a court in San Francisco to evaluate the evidence and statements made by former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high ranking officials in Washington who held office at the time of the war.

The team led by Clark is requesting that the US Court of Appeals hear Saleh’s claims that the the war in Iraq began under illegal pretenses under the international system of law.

The case comes as US courts begin to accept more and more cases concerning abuses which occurred during the war.

In April, a US Federal Court handed lengthy prison sentences to four men working as private contractors at the Blackwater securities firm after finding them guilty of killing at least 14 civilians when they opened fire on a market in Iraq.

On Wednesday, a court found Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins III guilty of four counts including murder in a retrial of a 2006 case which accused him of slaying a disabled civilian while on duty in Iraq.

Reporting from the site of the trial at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times said that Hutchins was found guilty of killing the disabled man as well as conspiring to commit larceny but had been acquitted of making a false report over the incident.

Witnesses said that the disabled man, who once served as a police officer, was not a suspect in any military investigation and was taken from his home when marines failed to find a suspected bomber in the village of Hamdania.

Hutchins was among a group of marines which shot and killed 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, and placed an AK-47 and a shovel next to the corpse to suggest he had been planting a bomb, the witnesses said.

Hutchins, who already spent six years behind bars during the appeals process, could face more than four more years in prison once a final decision is made when a jury of six of his peers reconvenes on Thursday.

TRTWorld and agencies