BECK index

January 5, 2003

Dear Secretary-General Kofi Annan,

For twelve years the military forces of the United States and the United Kingdom have been violating international law in Iraq. Those of us in the world peace movement are especially concerned about the imminent war threatened against Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom. We believe that the numerous attacks on Iraqi air defenses and other targets in the so-called "no-fly zones" are illegal by international law according to the United Nations Charter, Article 2, Sections 3 and 4, which read,

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

These attacks and the preparations for the aggressive war are also crimes against peace according to the Nuremberg Principles, which are defined as,

Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.

Although the economic sanctions that were imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council in 1990 may have been justified in order to get Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, since that goal has been achieved, we believe that they are no longer justified. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children have died as a result of these immoral and illegal sanctions. We believe they are crimes against humanity according to the Nuremberg Principles, which are defined as

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

They also clearly violate the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Articles 27, 30, and 31, which read:

Article 27. Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honor, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected specifically against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity. Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. Without prejudice to the provisions relating to their state of health, age and sex, all protected persons shall be treated with the same consideration by the Party to the conflict in whose power they are, without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion.
Article 30. The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such character as to cause physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their lands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.
Article 31. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

The stated purpose of these sanctions and the threatened war against Iraq is to make sure that they do not have any weapons of mass destruction, and we support thorough inspections in Iraq by agents of the United Nations to make sure that Iraq does not have any such weapons. Thus far several weeks of inspections have not revealed any evidence that they do. If any programs for developing weapons of mass destruction are found, they should simply be dismantled. A war over this would be unnecessary, immoral, and illegal.
Yet the United States and the United Kingdom are in clear violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Article 6, which reads,

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Therefore we call upon the United Nations General Assembly, as the representatives of the political voices of humanity, to pass a resolution condemning these violations of international law by the United States and the United Kingdom.

We further request that the United Nations Security Council keep their inspectors in Iraq to prevent an aggressive war by the United States and the United Kingdom against the people of Iraq until the United States removes its threatening forces from the region.

We also ask the International Court of Justice to bring charges against the United States and the United Kingdom so that they will cease and desist from committing these crimes against international law.

In the Light of God,
Sanderson Beck
for the world peace movement

Please feel free to copy this letter or use its ideas and send them to newspapers, magazines, members of Congress, etc.

BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World
Nonviolent Strategies for Protesting the US-Iraq War
Letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan
2003 Peace Campaign (Sanderson wrote this account of his educational peace campaign for the Presidency of the United States during his four-month incarceration for nonviolently protesting the illegal invasion of Iraq.)
Opening Statement by Sanderson Beck, May 1, 2003
Testimony by Sanderson Beck, May 1, 2003
Closing Arguments by Sanderson Beck, May 1, 2003
May 2003 Letter to Judge Walsh by Sanderson Beck

BECK index