Four U.S. Presidents and Four UK Prime Ministers Charged With Genocide, By Glen Ford

Last week, the government of Spain closed one window of accountability for the most serious crimes committed by the most powerful nations on earth. Under great pressure from the United States, Spain decided to limit its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity. Under international law, such crimes fall under the universal jurisdiction [2] of any nation, whether one’s own citizens are victims or not. The logic is that crimes against humanity are offenses against every member of the human species – a crime against all.
Spain had been a venue for bringing high crimes charges against human rights violators in Guatemala, Argentina, China, Israel and elsewhere. The worlds biggest potential defendant for war crimes and crimes against humanity is the United States, whose record of direct and indirect involvement in torture and mass killings is unmatched by any other nation since at least World War Two. It was U.S. pressure that forced Spain to close off its courts from international jurisdiction cases. However, one day before the change in Spanish law, lawyers for the human rights group Brussels Tribunal [3] filed charges of crimes against humanity and genocide against four presidents of the United States and four prime ministers of Great Britain.
The charges cite 1.5 million Iraqi deaths over the course of 19 years of American and British attacks, including two full scale wars of aggression, the “most draconian sanctions regime ever designed,” and subsequent occupation of Iraq. Half a million of the dead, according to the charges, were children. So massive and systematic were the assaults on Iraq, stretching for roughly a generation, the accusers charge the U.S. and U.K. with deliberate destruction of a nation.
The bill of particulars is massive. In addition to the dead, “some 4.7 million Iraqis — one fifth of the population — have been forcibly displaced” since the invasion of 2003. Depleted uranium has led to 600 percent increases in cancer cases in some areas. The U.S. and Britain purposely dismantled the Iraqi state, through “’manhunting,’ extrajudicial assassinations, mass imprisonment and torture, of Baathists, the entire educated class of the state apparatus, religious and linguistic minorities and Arab Sunnis, resulting in the total collapse of all public services and other economic functions and promoting civil strife and systematic corruption.
On top of all this, the Americans and Brits attempted to partition Iraq and plunder its natural resources.
The defendants are George Herbert Walker Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Hussein Obama, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown. It is highly unlikely they will be charged in Spain, even though the advocates beat the deadline by a day. The global clearing house for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is the International Criminal Court. But in recent years that court has prosecuted no one but Africans. The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court, and thus claims immunity from prosecution. But no one is immune under international law, and one day there will be a reckoning.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


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