News

USIS Washington File

01 November 1999

Text: Scheffer Makes Case for War Crimes Prosecution of Saddam Hussein

(Address to Iraqi National Congress in New York Oct. 29) (5740)

David Scheffer, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues,
has laid out the U.S. case for prosecuting Saddam Hussein and a
handful of close associates before an international war crimes
tribunal.

In a speech delivered before the Iraqi National Congress in New York
October 29, Scheffer accused the Iraqi regime of nine counts of
possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Three of
these continue to this day. They are:

-- "Since the 1980s, possible crimes against humanity for killings,
ostensibly against political opponents, within Iraq;

-- Since 1991, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against
the Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq, and

-- Since 1991, crimes against humanity and possible genocide against
the peoples of the southern Iraqi marshes."

"Before any government entertains further thoughts about deeper
relations with the Iraqi regime, the factual record of this criminal
enterprise needs to be fully appreciated," Scheffer told the INC.

"Given how infamous his (Saddam Hussein's) crimes have been, it will
be an interesting test to see who will defend a regime that has
committed both international and internal atrocities that are as
horrendous as they are illegal."

"No one can doubt the Iraqi regime's continuing assault on its own
citizens," he continued. "We hope other governments will join in a
multinational legal assault on Saddam Hussein in the months ahead."

Following is the text of Scheffer's remarks:

(begin text)

The Continuing Criminality of Saddam Hussein's Regime
David J. Scheffer
Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues
October 29, 1999
Iraqi National Congress
New York, NY.

It is a privilege to stand before a gathering of those who represent
the democratic future of Iraq. The presence of two distinguished
members of the United States Senate confirms the importance we in this
country attach to this gathering and the struggle ahead. I hope to
visit northern Iraq in the coming months and see for myself the
situation on the ground.

Looking back to 1990 and 1991, before the days of the International
Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, it was clear
to many international lawyers in those days that Iraqi president
Saddam Hussein deserved investigation and prosecution as an
international war criminal. His violations of international
humanitarian law were considerable even at that time. Yet Saddam
Hussein and his colleagues in power -- men such as his sons Qusay and
Uday, and Ali Hassan al-Majid, the infamous "Chemical Ali" -- have not
been stigmatized and ostracized by the international community as have
been equally infamous men such as Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan
Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Jean Kambanda and Theoneste Bagasora. Saddam
Hussein and his henchmen are still viewed by some governments as
legitimate tolerable leaders of a country somehow under siege by the
international community. They are viewed as men with whom people want
someday to do business, to open up channels of trade, and even to
forget and forgive. In reality, these are thugs who terrorize what was
once, and could again become, a great nation. The United States
Government is determined to see this clique of Iraqi criminals
stripped of their power and, if possible, brought to justice. They
should benefit from no contracts, no trade, no initiatives that would
bestow any legitimacy on their criminal enterprise in Baghdad. They
should be isolated, cut off, and brought before the gates of justice.
That would be far more generous and humane than what they have offered
hundreds of thousands of their victims.

Some may ask: Why Saddam? Why today? Accountability for Saddam
Hussein's crimes is a core part of the efforts of my office and of
others around the world whose job is to focus on the investigation,
prosecution, and ultimate deterrence of atrocities wherever they
occur. The Office of War Crimes Issues at the State Department, which
I head, is deeply engaged in supporting the investigation and, when
appropriate, prosecution of serious violations of international
humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia, in the Great Lakes region
of Africa (including Rwanda), in Sierra Leone, in Cambodia, in Sri
Lanka, and elsewhere. We pay a lot of attention to the carnage in East
Timor, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Burundi, and Angola.

Saddam's Crimes

In Iraq today, atrocities are being carried out by Saddam's army
against the Arabs of the southern marshes with a ferocity that is as
widespread, albeit over a longer period of time, as that waged by
Milosevic's goons against the Kosovar Albanians. The Iraqi regime's
destruction of the environment in the south, making it uninhabitable
by the people who live there, is part of that overall campaign. And
Saddam's internal war against his political opponents is of a
character that begs for description as crimes against humanity. The
criminal enterprise is undeniable and glares at anyone who cares to
look closely at Iraq today. We intend to keep exposing it for what it
is and to work towards the day when the key people in Saddam's regime
who are actually responsible for it are put behind bars.

I should therefore describe the scope and magnitude of the Iraqi
regime's international crimes and who within the leadership clique we
think merits investigation.

We have identified nine major criminal episodes under Saddam Hussein's
rule in Iraq. Three of the nine episodes continue to this day and,
indeed, one of them is accelerating at an alarming rate. These
episodes are:

1. In the 1980's, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide in the
"Anfal" campaign against the Iraqi Kurds, including the notorious use
of poison gas in Halabja in 1988, which killed an estimated 5,000
people in a single attack.

2. In the 1980's, crimes against humanity and war crimes for use of
poison gas against Iran, as well as other war crimes against Iran and
the Iranian people.

3. In 1990-91, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Kuwait,
its people, and its environment during and following the illegal
invasion and occupation of that country.

4. In 1991, war crimes against Coalition forces during the Gulf War.

5. During the 1990's, possible crimes against humanity and war crimes
for illegal human experimentation.

6. Since the 1980's, possible crimes against humanity for killings,
ostensibly against political opponents, within Iraq.

7. Since 1991, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against
the Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq.

8. Since 1991, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide against
the peoples of the southern Iraqi marshes.

9. Possible crimes against humanity and war crimes for killing Iranian
prisoners of war.

Like Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein did not commit these crimes on
his own. Yet we know that Saddam Hussein has built up one of the
world's most ruthless police states using a very small number of
associates who share with him the responsibility for these criminal
actions. Many of their names deserve to be better known, as well. For
example, Ali Hassan al-Majid became known as "Chemical Ali" for his
leadership and enthusiasm in using poison gas against Iraqi Kurds and
in the Iran-Iraq war. He also turned up in Kuwait during the
occupation and, more recently, as governor in the south of Iraq during
recent periods of repression against the Shi'a peoples of the south.
When someone shows up at crime scene after crime scene, the pattern of
evidence becomes clear.

Two other examples are Saddam Hussein's sons, Qusay and Uday. Qusay
Saddam Hussein is the head of the Special Security organization and
Uday is a commander of a ruthless paramilitary organization that
maintains Saddam's hold on power.

The non-governmental group INDICT has come up with a list of 12 people
it believes should be indicted by an international war crimes
tribunal. In addition to Saddam Hussein, his two sons, and Ali Hassan
al-Majid, INDICT's list includes Barzan al-Tikriti, former head of
Iraqi intelligence; Taha Yasin Ramadan, vice president of Iraq; Watban
al-Tikriti, former minister of the interior; Sabawi al-Tikriti, former
head of intelligence and the General Security Organization; Izzat
Ibrahim al-Douri, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
and former head of the Revolutionary Court; Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi,
deputy prime minister of Iraq; Tariq Aziz, deputy primer minister of
Iraq; and Aziz Salih Noman, governor of Kuwait during the Iraqi
occupation.

Need for International Investigation and Prosecution

The U.S. Government is well aware of the tension that exists in the
international system today between a small number of governments that
believe there is something to be gained by broadening relations with
Saddam Hussein's regime and by dismantling the U.N. sanctions program,
and others who recognize the need to continue to isolate Saddam
Hussein and work towards the day of his downfall and that of his
associates. Before any government entertains further thoughts about
deeper relations with the Iraqi regime, the factual record of this
criminal enterprise needs to be fully appreciated. There must not be a
memory lapse when it comes to the war crimes of Saddam Hussein and his
inner circle.

Since some governments are contemplating broader relationships with
Baghdad, and since some well-intentioned people seem to believe that
our support for sanctions against the Iraqi regime somehow raises
questions about our own conduct towards the people of Iraq, we must
understand the character and magnitude of Saddam Hussein's criminal
enterprise. The Iraqi regime's violations of international
humanitarian law have been going on for many years and are, in fact,
on-going. This is a man and a regime who have brutally and
systematically committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for
years, are committing them now and will continue committing them until
the international community finally says enough.

I am going to explain in some detail what we are doing to corner
Saddam Hussein and his regime within the rule of law. Our primary
objective is to see Saddam Hussein and the leadership of the Iraqi
regime indicted and prosecuted by an international criminal tribunal
(ICC). There remains a critical need for such ad hoc international
criminal tribunals at the end of the 20th Century. The permanent
international criminal court envisaged by the Rome Treaty of 1998 will
have only prospective jurisdiction when it is established, and that
will not happen unless 60 governments ratify the Rome Treaty. Given
that four governments have ratified the Rome Treaty to date, one can
expect that several years will elapse before such a permanent court
can be used, and then only for crimes committed after its
establishment. Moreover, because of the way the ICC's jurisdiction was
set out in article 12 of the Rome statute, Saddam Hussein will be
immune from the ICC so long as he only kills Iraqis. That is
unacceptable to us, and should be unacceptable to other civilized
nations of the world.

For several years, the United States has quietly pursued with member
States of the Security Council and with interested governments in the
region the goal of an international criminal tribunal that would be
established by the U.N. Security Council. I have personally led this
effort since 1997, and I have visited with many governments to seek
out their views. We are realistic about where we stand and the
prospects for accomplishing our objective. Quiet diplomacy has told us
that many governments agree with the principle that something should
be done to bring Saddam Hussein and other very high officials to
justice. Interestingly, many governments seem to think that the effort
will be blocked in the Council by countries willing to defend Saddam
Hussein publicly. Given how infamous his crimes have been, this will
be an interesting test to see who will defend a regime that has
committed both international and internal atrocities that are as
horrendous as they are illegal.

Let me briefly review the procedure that has been followed in previous
efforts to establish the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for
the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. In both cases, the procedure was
first to select a U.N. rapporteur to examine the situation and report
to the Security Council and General Assembly. That has already been
done for Iraq with the outstanding work of Max van der Stoel, whose
many reports on Iraq are detailed with information and analysis of the
criminal character of Saddam Hussein's actions.

The next step traditionally would be the establishment of a U.N.
Security Council Commission of Experts to investigate the facts and
report back to the Security Council. This was done in the cases of the
former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and quickly led to establishment of
international criminal tribunals. Similar commissions of experts have
also examined atrocities in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo in recent years, but the Security Council has not yet moved to
establish criminal tribunals to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes
in those countries. In the case of Iraq, as Assistant Secretary of
State Martin Indyk said on September 13, we believe that the Security
Council would be well served with a Commission of Experts to gather
all of the information on the criminal conduct of the Iraqi regime,
organize it coherently, and then report to the Security Council on the
merits of a criminal tribunal.

That being said, we strongly believe even at this stage that the
Security Council would be fully justified in establishing an ad hoc
international criminal tribunal without the predicate of a Commission
of Experts. We say this because a major effort, strongly supported by
the U.S. Government and other governments and non-governmental
organizations, has already been working to gather relevant information
about the Iraqi regime so as to be able to make it available to an
international prosecutor as soon as one is appointed with jurisdiction
over Saddam Hussein and his top assistants.

When you look at the record, it should become more and more clear that
others who are reminded of the criminal character of Saddam Hussein
and his regime will eventually conclude, as we have, that there is
more to gain for international peace and security from pursuing
international justice against Saddam Hussein than it would ever be
possible to gain for private profit from pursuing international
commerce with Saddam Hussein.

During the Rome conference for the international criminal court last
year, the common refrain of the most rhetorically spirited backers of
the permanent court was, "No more Saddam Husseins." I challenge each
and every government and non-governmental organization that has
supported the establishment of a permanent international court to
match their deeds to their words, and ensure that the real Saddam
Hussein can be isolated and eventually brought to justice by the
international community.

Being Prepared for Investigations Elsewhere

Just as we are committed to using international law to advance the
cause of peace, we are also hardheaded realists about what it will
take to achieve the result we seek. If an international criminal
tribunal or even a commission of experts proves too difficult to
achieve politically, there still may be opportunities in the national
courts of certain jurisdictions to investigate and indict the
leadership of the Iraqi regime. Indeed, if there were a regime change
in Baghdad, the opportunity may well arise for domestic prosecutions
of the Saddam Hussein regime. We want to be prepared, in the event any
such national court indicts members of the regime, to provide a "care
package" of valuable information to assist in that effort.

Other jurisdictions are also having to take an interest in the
prosecution of senior Iraqi leaders. This summer, Izzat Ibrahim
al-Douri, Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and one
of Saddam's top deputies, visited Vienna for medical treatment. He
learned quickly that international travel is becoming risky for the
Iraqi leadership. An Austrian municipal official launched efforts with
the Austrian Government to seek an arrest warrant against al-Douri. He
then fled the country to return to Iraq. The United States would have
preferred that the Austrian Government not sought to facilitate
al-Douri's travel, especially when it seemed as though his sudden
departure was made to thwart efforts by others to bring him to
justice. But this experience clearly demonstrated to those who want
justice against Saddam Hussein and his regime that they need to have
their evidence ready and in a form that would justify an arrest
warrant. We were heartened that Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister,
decided to stay home rather than attend a conference in Rome in
August.

The United States has long believed that top officials of the Iraqi
regime do not deserve to be received as distinguished visitors in the
capitals of the world. Just as Slobodan Milosevic is confined to
Serbia along with his colleagues indicted by the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Saddam Hussein and his
closest colleagues should be increasingly confined to Iraq. Sadly,
they will still have 48 palaces in which to relax, many built in
recent years at the expense of Iraq's children. Still, the victims of
Saddam Hussein's crimes can take some small measure of comfort that
Iraqi officials responsible for those crimes are no longer enjoying
the luxuries of European travel, medical care and a standard of living
that they deny to the Iraqi people.

Considerable Evidence of Iraqi War Crimes Exists

For its part, the United States Government will continue to gather and
organize a large amount of incriminating information about the Iraqi
regime stretching back to the 1980's. The documents we have been
working on include:

First is the archive of 5.5 million pages of captured Iraqi documents
taken out of northern Iraq by Human Rights Watch and the U.S.
Government. We have transcribed these onto 176 CD-ROM's and I am
pleased to announce that the U.S. Government is today handing over a
set to the Iraq Foundation. These detail in the most minute way the
day-to-day nature of the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein's
intelligence services against the peoples of northern Iraq.

Second is an archive of Iraqi documents -- over four million pages --
captured during the Gulf War in 1991 from Iraqi forces in Kuwait and
southern Iraq. These also detail the nature of Iraqi crimes against
the Kuwaiti people. I should note in this context the excellent work
already done by Kuwaiti prosecutors, the Center for Research and
Studies on Kuwait and others there in documenting Saddam Hussein's
crimes against the Kuwaiti people.

Third, the U.S. Government is working to preserve videotapes shot by
U.S. cameramen after the Gulf War that has been stored in U.S.
Government archives. These will provide important visual evidence of
Saddam's crimes in Kuwait, in particular.

Fourth, the U.S. Government in 1991 and 1992 compiled an archive of
classified documents relating to Iraqi war crimes in the Gulf War.
While we do not intend to make all of these documents public, we have
worked closely with past commissions of experts and tribunals to allow
them access to classified material in accordance with U.S. laws that
protect sources and methods. We would be willing to do the same for a
commission or tribunal looking into the crimes of Saddam Hussein and
his henchmen.

Fifth, the U.S. Government has compiled imagery and other evidence of
Saddam's campaign against the Shi'a peoples of southern Iraq,
particularly the culture of those who live in the southern marshes.
Some of this has already been declassified, and I will be showing you
some of that in the next few minutes.

Funding and Congressional Support

Seeing Saddam Hussein indicted for his crimes is a goal that the
Administration and the Congress all share. In 1997, the House of
Representatives voted in favor of such a resolution by a vote of
396-2; in the Senate a similar resolution passed 97-0. Last year
Congress expressed its desire to see an international criminal
tribunal established to indict Saddam Hussein when it adopted the Iraq
Liberation Act.

Political support would mean little without the resources to bring the
facts of Saddam's crimes to light. With the strong support of the
Congress, the United States is providing financial support to groups
gathering information about Iraqi crimes. Congress appropriated $5
million in the May 1998 Bosnia/Iraq supplemental to support efforts by
the Iraqi democratic opposition and by NGO's on documenting Iraqi
crimes and to call international attention to Saddam's record of
atrocities going back to 1979. Of a total Iraqi war crimes
appropriation of $2 million during fiscal years 1998 and 1999, we have
thus far given about half of that amount the UK-based human rights
group "INDICT" to compile documentary evidence and to interview
witnesses. We are providing support to the International Monitor
Institute in Los Angeles to collect and digitize audio and video
evidence of Iraqi atrocities. We also intend to provide a grant to the
Human Rights Alliance to facilitate its efforts to conduct educational
efforts on the Iraqi regime's criminal record and to assist other
human rights groups that work an the Iraq war crimes effort. Finally,
in conjunction with the Harvard Documentation Project, the Iraq
Foundation will use a grant to catalogue and put on the Internet
captured documents showing how the Iraqi regime carried out the
"Anfal" campaign and other crimes against the Iraqi people. One of our
objectives is to widely publicize incriminating information about the
Iraqi regime. Not all of us have the time to travel to Colorado
University to look at their collection of 5.5 million pages of
captured Iraqi documents. But we hope that with our financial
assistance, the Iraq Foundation and others will be able to put many of
these on the Internet where Saddam's criminal record will be viewable
around the world.

For FY2000, we have requested $10 million in the FY2000 Foreign
operations appropriation bill to support the Iraqi opposition and to
continue to document Saddam Hussein's record of atrocities. However,
there are two points I must make on the subject of resources.

First, while Congress has been supportive of funding the gathering of
evidence of Iraqi atrocities, the continued non-payment of U.S.
arrears to the United Nations undermines our diplomatic efforts on
Iraq, including our objective of bringing Saddam Hussein and his top
aides to justice. The Secretary and Ambassador Holbrooke have both
been working this issue very hard. Security Council members sometimes
have grown frustrated and resistant to our calls for support on Iraq
policy, in part because we are not paying our bills to the very
institution we want to launch such initiatives. Some governments may
try to use lack of U.S. funding as an excuse not to establish a
commission or tribunal to investigate Saddam Hussein. The cut and
slash approach Congress has taken to the State Department's budget
requests further undermines our diplomatic efforts on war crimes. The
single most effective weapon we could launch against Saddam Hussein
tomorrow, across the board, would be full payment of our U.N. arrears
and full funding for our foreign policy budget. Those are national
security priorities that, sadly, are being sidelined on Capitol Hill.

Second, the Administration sought funding for an Iraqi war crimes
commission or tribunal in our FY2000 budget request. The Congress,
however, tried to cut this back by saying funding for such a tribunal
or commission should come out of our budget request for the existing
war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. However, we
cannot work that way. We cannot say that we will shortchange our U.N.
dues for the tribunals in order to fund another war crimes priority
that Congress and the Administration share. The two tribunals are
outside the budget cap under which the United Nations operates and the
budgets for the two tribunals are set independently by the U.N. budget
committees. Our U.N. dues for the two tribunals will be approximately
25% of the total budgets for the tribunals. Congress' approach in the
appropriations bills that were recently vetoed by the President could
deny us the ability to move forward on Saddam Hussein during the next
crucial year when progress in New York may be possible. It would be a
sad loss for those in the Administration and the Congress who want to
see Saddam Hussein brought to justice if our efforts were thwarted by
Congress' failure to appropriate $4 million for a commission or
tribunal to help bring Saddam to justice.

Anfal

Let me turn to a review of the horror of one of the most brutal crimes
of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Anfal campaign, explain the modern
assault on the Kurds, and then discuss the campaign of atrocities
against the Shi'a of the southern marshes, particularly recent
criminal actions.

The Anfal campaign of the late 1980's was one of the worst examples of
atrocities committed in pursuit of what the world would come to know
as ethnic cleansing.

The Iraqi methodology and goals are well seen in a secret speech (of
which a recording was captured) by the infamous Ali Hassan Al-Majid,
Saddam's cousin, "Chemical Ali." He was in the late 1980's the man in
charge of implementing the government's policy in the north,
specifically to quell unrest and insurgencies among the Kurds.

In the speech to security commanders in January 1989 he promises:
"I'll certainly look after the Kurds. I'll do it by burying them with
bulldozers. That's how I'll do it". He was true to his word.

The policy was simple and direct. To curb the unrest and insurgencies
vast regions were forcibly denuded of people and livestock. The
populace was sent to distant housing complexes under Iraqi military
control. The emptied villages were then razed. (An example of this
wanton destruction is shown by a photo from 1989 where well over a 100
houses have been leveled.) Many persons naturally were reluctant to
abandon their homesteads and land, and they would flee into nearby
hills.

Orders for treating these persons were explicit, as shown in an order
of June 1987: "The armed forces must kill any human being or animal
present within these areas. They are totally prohibited". This order
was repeated often because apparently some units in the field were not
as vigorous in implementing policy as the high command desired.

Another states: "The corps commands shall carry out random
bombardments using artillery, helicopters, and aircraft at all times
... in order to kill the largest number of persons present in those
prohibited areas". Further, "All persons captured in those villages
shall be detained ... and those between the ages of 15 and 70 must be
executed after any useful information has been obtained from them."

Note the utter disregard for non-combatants that permeates these
orders.

Listen to another cold-blooded edict from May 1987: "The First Army
Corps issued an order as requested by comrade Ali Hassan Al-Majid to
execute the wounded civilians after the party organization ...
confirmed their hostility toward the authorities".

There is more:

From February 1969, "It has been decided to carry out the death
penalty against all the criminals whose names are listed in your above
letter. There is no need to send them to the investigative court".

Another message to higher ups in December 1987 complains that
executions are backlogged because the morgues are full. These seized
documents are littered with the phrase "necessary measures" which we
know from collaborative evidence means summary executions.

The best known incident of the Anfal was the attack on the
northeastern city of Halabja, where some 5,000 civilians died in 1988
from the effects of mustards and nerve gases. The devastating effects
of these attacks are still being felt in Halabja today, with highly
abnormal rates of birth defects, cancers and infertility. Recently a
British geneticist, Dr. Christine Gosden documented the horrors that
Saddam's attack has inflicted, and continues to inflict, on the people
of the town. She found numerous cases of bone, skin, and neurological
pathologies that have continued to inflict suffering on many who were
not killed outright. The Washington Post gave Dr. Gosden its entire
Op-Ed page to describe the horrors that Saddam Hussein's forces
inflicted upon the people of Halabja. "60 Minutes" devoted an entire
segment to portraying graphically what Dr. Gosden encountered in
Halabja. Given that its report was aired in prime time television, I
can tell you it left out some of the most gruesome scenes of the
damage inflicted on Iraqi families. These photos from Halabja show the
indiscriminate nature of the killing.

The Halabja attack made "60 Minutes" but it was far from unique.
Captured Iraqi documents are replete with references to what are
euphemistically called attacks with "special ammunition" in towns like
Malakan, Talinan, Kandor, and Badinan. There were many others. Field
units dutifully reported the effects of these attacks to the high
command, blandly noting the deaths of whole families, mass blindings
and other grand accomplishments.

All told, the death count from Anfal numbers tens, perhaps hundreds of
thousands of slaughtered Kurds. Unmarked mass graves pockmark northern
Iraq, where thousands were buried. The government grew so tired of
answering inquiries from concerned relatives that instructions went
out in September 1990 stating that instead of the standard phrase,
"They were arrested during the victorious Anfal campaign and remain in
detention," the official reply would now be, "We do not have any
information on their fate."

At least 3,000 villages were destroyed or severely damaged. At the
Nuremberg trials, the Nazis were held accountable for the destruction
of the towns of Lidice in Czechoslovakia and Oradour-sur-Glane in
France. It is time to remember the thousands of Lidices in Iraq.

While Anfal is officially over, the campaign against the Kurds is not.
A more contemporary example will attest to that.

Buildings within the walls of the ancient city of Kirkuk were
demolished between September 1997 and August 1998. The expulsion of
Kurdish and Turkomen families may well be linked to an Iraqi policy of
"ethnic cleansing", with the stated purpose of "rectification of
nationalities." Baghdad is attempting to transform Kirkuk and the
surrounding oil-rich area from a Kurdish to an Arab majority populace.
The Iraqi regime would have you believe that all the destruction seen
in the photos is a result of archeological excavations.

Shi'a of the Southern Marshes

Last month the State Department issued a white paper on Iraq that
included some information on crimes recently committed against the
Shi'a of the southern marshes. Assistant Secretary James Rubin showed
Some photographs of the extent of destruction near al-Masha. Today I
want to show you some additional photographs of very recent
destruction and the continued degradation of the agricultural
resources and marshland of southern Iraq. There is unquestionably a
systematic and large-scale effort underway to ethnically cleanse the
Shi'a of the southern marshes and to destroy the environment in which
they have lived for more than a thousand years.

We have four photos showing the sequence of destruction of a village
near al- Masha. The June photo is before -- the July photo indicates
wide scale destruction; by August the rubble has been cleared; in
September the trees have even been removed.

The roughly 5,200 square kilometer area known as the southern marshes
of Iraq has largely been destroyed by actions of the Iraqi government.
Through the use of dams, causeways and other draining measures the
area has lost most of its water, as shown in these photos.

The photo on the left contrasts the marsh area from 1972 to 1993; the
second compares 1991 to 1999; the 1999 photo indicates the drained
areas.

Additional photos show the continued burning of vegetation; this photo
shows one fire but there were multiple fires burning that particular
day;

Another photo demonstrates continued activity to drain the marshes,
witness the large number of pipes being installed.

The subsequent rise in salinity has ruined the area for agriculture.
The land is now more suited for the many military camps that dot the
landscape.

These steps were taken to hamper operations by Shi'a insurgents. The
Iraqi marshes have sustained the homes and livelihoods of thousands of
people for thousands of years, through the depredations of the
Assyrian and Mongol invasions. Saddam Hussein is forcing the
inhabitants off their land.

No one can doubt the Iraqi regime's continuing assault on its own
civilians. We hope other governments will join in a multinational
legal assault on Saddam Hussein in the months ahead. We are prepared
to lead that effort and to sustain it until Saddam Hussein has met his
match in the court of law.

I can anticipate the primary concern of many, perhaps some in the
audience, regarding the nutrition situation in Iraq under the
sanctions and the fate of Iraq's children. How can I go on about
Saddam Hussein when we are being charged with crimes against the
starving humanity of Iraq? Easy. The Secretary of State and, last week
in the International Herald Tribune, the National Security Adviser
have repeatedly addressed this concern, and I will leave their words
standing. Sandy Berger described Saddam's squandering and corrupt
administration of Iraq, at the expense of his people, "obscene." The
facts are abundantly clear now on who is responsible for the misery of
the Iraqi people. I would simply add that the fastest way to restore
proper nutrition and medical treatment to the women and children of
central and southern Iraq would be a regime change in Baghdad and the
treatment of Saddam Hussein and his ilk for what they truly are:
suspected criminals who merit full investigation and, if the facts
establish probable cause, indictment and prosecution for crimes
against humanity, war crimes, and even genocide.

In coming weeks, we will produce more imagery of destruction and other
criminal acts in Iraq. The on-going character of the ethnic cleansing
campaign in southern Iraq means we are witnessing a massive criminal
enterprise at work, day by day, and victim by victim. The reckoning of
Saddam Hussein will not be easy, may take a long time, and will surely
entail risk. We cannot turn our backs to the challenge of
international justice in Iraq, any more than we can ignore the
humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

Conclusion

There must be an accounting for the last 20 years in Iraq -- the Iraqi
people deserve it and the future peace and security of the region
depends on it. The United States is resolved to help you -- the
authentic voice of the Iraqi people -- achieve that accounting and
substitute the rule of law for a tyrannical cult of personality.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)