The International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq was founded in November 2007 with the aimed of bringing the charge of genocide against the United States, its proxies and allies, in a court of universal jurisdiction.
The claim of genocide stems from the conclusions of an extended research paper written by Ian Douglas, Hana Al Bayaty and Abdul Ilah Albayaty in April-June 2007 that laid out the foundations of the law of genocide and the pattern of events in Iraq that suggests "specific intent" to destroy. This research paper, like the initiative that followed, takes the destruction of Iraq from 1990 as one singular, if shifting, attack on Iraq.
Initially, the initiative was conceived as a means of coordinating and combining the work of specialists drawn from the antiwar movement, in particular human rights lawyers, political analysts and researchers. The goal was to build an effective legal memorandum on US genocide in Iraq — one that could be used in international fora and become a legal reference point for the antiwar movement.
By Spring 2009, the window for bringing the case in Spain — until October of 2009, the most progressive locale for the practice of universal jurisdiction — was closing, under pressure of Israel and the United States that were already facing charges before the Spanish courts. In response, the longer-term vision of the initiative was put on hold and the Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq was formed, with the task of submitting a legal case against the United States and United Kingdom within three months.
We filed a legal case against four US presidents and four UK prime ministers one day before the Spanish Senate voted to radically circumscribe the law of universal jurisdiction in Spain. As we expected, the law was judged retroactive, and led to the closing of our case and others. But this is not the end of the struggle for justice for Iraq.
We remain committed to working towards the prosecution of high US and UK officials for the unspeakable crimes detailed in the case we submitted. Just as we look for allies in this work, we are ready to offer our insight and efforts to assist similar initiatives taken up by others.
We cannot allow the total destruction of a state and nation, entailing more than a million killed in violence, to be a precedent in this, our century. Unless law is useless, it must be taken up as a shield, and a means of defence.