Letter: Goalposts move as Iraqis starve

Letter: Goalposts move as Iraqis starve

Sir: US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has endorsed the continued economic embargo aimed at the Iraqi people, which has already caused many thousands of deaths. These were not accidental or unforeseen.

In US law, international terrorism is defined as "acts dangerous to human life ... that appear intended to coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion". The embargo fits this definition.

The Additional Protocols of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 define as war crimes "making the civilian population the object of attack", as well as "launching an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects".

To starve a population falls squarely into this definition. High Contracting Parties to these conventions and protocols are required to prosecute individuals responsible for war crimes. Yet no court has initiated any legal inquiry or proceedings in this matter.


Reykjavik, Iceland