Iraqis Threaten to Sue U.S. for War Crimes

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9/11 bill removing sovereign immunity rights will open U.S. to flood of international lawsuits

Iraq Training Troubles

U.S. army soldiers, alongside their Iraqi counterparts, provide security at a marketplace in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib suburb / AP

BY:
September 26, 2016 3:25 pm

An advocacy organization representing scores of Iraqis killed or wounded by U.S. forces has threatened to sue the American government for war crimes, according to a recent announcement that cites a new bill as opening a pathway for citizens to sue foreign governments over terror attacks.

The Iraqi National Project, a group that advocates on the behalf of Iraqi nationals, says that it is laying the groundwork to sue the United States for its war effort in the country.

The announcement comes as Congress attempts to override a presidential veto of legislation that would provide Americans with the legal power to sue Saudi Arabia over its role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Critics of the legislation, including the White House, have warned that the bill would set a legal precedent that allows foreign governments to sue the United States over its past war efforts and for possible war crimes.

The Iraqi National Project cites this legislation as the impetus for its decision to move forward with lawsuits against the United States

“In light of the majority vote by the U.S. Congress and Senate in support of the 9/11 bill removing the sovereign immunity rights of Saudi Arabia and other countries accused of being implicated in terrorism—and in spite of President Obama’s veto on September 23rd 2016—we hereby declare that if this bill is actually passed and becomes a law, then it constitutes a window of opportunity for millions of Iraqis who have lost their sons and daughters in military operations by U.S. military forces and U.S. contracted forces since the U.S. invasion in 2003 to pursue compensation from the U.S. government for what they have endured,” the letter states.

The group is planning to establish a committee comprised of Iraqi lawyers and judges, as well as international allies, to plot a way to advance such a lawsuit.

The group accuses the United States of launching attacks in Iraq that have been based on poor intelligence sources.

“These U.S. operations included bombings of civilians, arrests, torture (like in Abu Ghraib prison), and in numerous camps set up by the U.S. forces across Iraq,” the letter states. “There are also tens of thousands of maimed and handicapped Iraqis as a result of this injustice.”

“The majority of the injustices were based on very sketchy information and very discriminatory methods with numerous omissions from U.S. official and ex-officials,” the document adds. “Once the 9/11 bill becomes law, we will endeavor and assist on a strong effort towards the formation of special committees seated by top Iraqi lawyers and judges along with numerous international legal advisers.”

Congressional insiders who object to the 9/11 bill for what they describe as its flawed approach to providing U.S. terror victims legal recourse told the Free Beacon that the U.S. government is expecting to face an onslaught of similar lawsuits should Congress override Obama’s veto.

“When you hear critics talk about this bill setting a dangerous precedent, this is exactly what we mean. It’s backfiring before Congress even has a chance to override the veto,” said one senior congressional aide tracking the matter. “The U.S. government is unnecessarily exposing itself to countless frivolous lawsuits and jeopardizing relations with a key strategic ally. Although well-intentioned, they need to take this bill back to the drawing board.”

The House of Representatives is expected to override Obama’s veto later this week, despite objections from top congressional leaders such as Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

“I worry about legal matters. I worry about trial lawyers trying to get rich off of this. And I do worry about the precedence,” Ryan told reporters last week. “At the same time, these victims do need to have their day in court.”

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This entry was posted in 9/11 Bill to Sue US Government, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA), Legacy of the War and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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