Legal liability of foreign companies for Halabja genocide part one29/01/2012 15:33
ERBIL, Jan. 29 (AKnews) - 1 - Punishing those responsible, compensating those affected
In this the first of a four part series legal expert Munther Al-Fadl explains how many responsible for Halabja have avoided justice. The calculated barbarism of the military attack on Halabja carried out by the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein on March 16 and 17 1988 is a series of international crimes.
Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are crimes so grave that not only those who drop the bombs are responsible, but those who give the orders, provide the weapons and all the intermediaries between are also responsible.
To you and me responsibility means an individual has an obligation for the consequences of their actions and so are required to compensate for any mistake.
The legal definition of responsibility differs from the linguistic. If the linguistic definition is limited to the individual, responsibility in a legal sense includes the individual and a legal entity. That is to say, the fault might be committed by a person who is the individual or the legal entity, like a company, association, institution, Ministry or State. A person can make a mistake for which someone else is responsible and pay compensation or take the punishment, according to the general rules of civil and criminal law.
Legally, responsibility means culpability or accountability for an act, and the penalty is compensation or punishment and compensation together. Responsibility branches out according to jurisdiction. The criminal act that took place in Halabja, for example, is an intentional international crime classified as genocide and a war crime, as well as a crime against humanity committed with intent.
Legally speaking no international crime can be committed without criminal intent. They cannot be committed by accident so criminal law determines those who committed these crimes, and aided and abetted them, deserve punishment as well as payment of compensation to those affected.
All who are judged to be criminally responsible must neither be pardoned or exempted from their sentence, nor have their punishment reduced or be granted asylum according to the Prevention of Genocide Convention and its Punishment of 1948. Iraq is a signatory of this convention, as of 2005.
All those who commit an international crime like that horrific act perpetrated on the people of Halabja must be tried. Responsibility is total and cannot be apportioned to some and not others. All must be held to account.
It is therefore unfortunate that some Iraqi politicians delay implementing provisions issued by the High Criminal Court against the perpetrators of these serious international crimes. It is unacceptable behavior and a violation of the constitution.
Although the Iraqi court has issued its rulings in the case of Halabja in 2010 against some of those involved many Iraqis and foreigners were able to escape punishment. They were all people who participated or contributed to this crime. They provided them or enabled the deposed regime to get hold of the chemical weapons used on the Kurdish people in Halabja.
They were the ones who gave the weapons to kill more than 5,000 people and maim and scar tens of thousands who still suffer from the effects of the poison rain.
In addition to those people responsible for this crime, dozens of foreign companies played major roles in providing the former regime with chemical weapons and poison gas and other internationally banned weapons. They have not been held accountable despite the explicit provisions that punish such international crimes.
If these criminal acts - the use of chemical weapons - must be punished according to the rules above, there are also grounds for civil litigation. Civil liability would impose compensation on those responsible for the losses the attacks caused. The loss to physical and psychological health; the loss of family members, the loss of livestock, orchards and crops; for the destroyed homes and buildings in the city.
The calculated barbarism of the military attack on Halabja carried out by the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party on March 16 and 17 1988 is a series of international crimes. I want to approach the topic from another point of view - the responsibility of the parties that participated in the crime, and specifically the foreign parties that supplied the former regime with illegal materials and weapons used in this city and other parts of Kurdistan. Unfortunately we are still far from legal accountability in this regard.
1 - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons OPCW, based in The Hague - Netherlands
Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction
The Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
And also see about chemical disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons and international cooperation and the universality of the Convention
2 - The International Court of Justice
3 - One of the brothers who was a victim of chemical weapons in Halabja called me from Germany. Mr Majid Habib al-Tai, an Arab from Sadr City in Baghdad, who worked with the Shiite opposition and escaped for to Kurdistan as a safe haven. He entered Halabja to escape tyranny of authoritarian rule. His fate was to witness Saddam's crimes in the bombing of Halabja with chemical weapons
He was one of the victims and he is still receiving treatment in Iranian and German hospitals. Strangely enough, he has high spirits and does not think of his legitimate rights of getting material and moral compensation as much as thinking of documenting Saddam's crimes. He wrote an article in which describes his suffering.
His condition is thoroughly presented in the detailed essay (The Chemical Died ... and I'm still alive) published on many websites:
For more interesting details about the Iraq-Iran war and the scale of losses, chemical strikes and the countries that helped Saddam see the important book by the Egyptian Defense Minister: The Iraqi-Iranian war - Marshal Abdul Halim Abu Ghazala -- 1994 p. 6, 60, 66, 172, 239, and p. 241.