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MARCH 28, 2003
12:36 PM
CONTACT:  Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
U.N. -- Accessory After the Fact?
WASHINGTON - March 28 -

    Former head of the U.N. oil-for-food program, Halliday said today: "The people of Iraq are being crushed brutally everyday as we watch our TV. The U.N. and international law are being set aside by the U.N. Security Council member states. The Secretary General provides a weak voice reminding us all of Charter provisions, but too late and too little...."

    Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author of the book Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis. She said today: "International law, specifically the Geneva Conventions, requires the belligerent occupying power to take responsibility (meaning pay) for the humanitarian needs of the civilian population under occupation. Thus, the U.S. and the U.K. are responsible for all costs of emergency care, including food, medicine, and initial rehabilitation efforts, at least during the period while hostilities continue. Oil-for-food funds should not be released and used to pay for emergency supplies -- those funds belong to Iraq. They should remain frozen until a functioning independent government is in power in Baghdad and then turned back over to Iraq.

    Executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Normand said today: "This is a defining moment for the United Nations. Kofi Annan should immediately condemn the illegal invasion of Iraq. The U.N. should insist on retaining control over the oil-for-food funds for the benefit of the Iraqi people. The U.N. should not allow the U.S.-U.K. to seize billions of Iraqi oil wealth to pay companies like Halliburton to rebuild what the U.S.-U.K. has destroyed at U.S. taxpayer expense."

    Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Lobel is professor of international law at the University of Pittsburgh and a CCR board member. Lobel said today: "We have been asking for a 'Uniting for Peace' Resolution (337), which allows the U.N. General Assembly to step in and prevent aggressive wars and acts when the Security Council is unable to do so. Seemingly very concerned about the possibility of this resolution being brought to the U.N. floor and passing, the U.S. government has sent a high-pressure letter to all nations of the world demanding that they avoid 'calls for an emergency session of the General Assembly, [which] will not change the path that we are on....'"

    Sacks was fined $10,000 last year by the U.S. government after he took medicines to Iraq. He said today: "Yesterday, standing next to President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair said that 'Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease ... because of the nature of the regime under which they are living. Now, that is why we're acting.' Well, that's certainly why I was acting. I took medicine to children in Iraq and I was fined $10,000 for admitting this. The regime that caused the preventable death of these children is the regime of sanctions pushed by the U.S. and the U.K."


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