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n Journal for Juridical Science - The invasion of Iraq : a challenge to the Charter Prohibition of Violence in Inter-State Relations

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Abstract

Just before its armed invasion of Iraq, the US tried but failed to get the UN to sanction war on Iraq. Having failed in that effort, the US on 20 March 2003 invaded Iraq with the armed support of Australia, Britain and Spain. The invasion was greeted with world-wide condemnation and street protests. The US and its allies were unmoved. It was claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction posing a threat to the world, and that, therefore, it was necessary to militarily overwhelm and disarm it. It was also claimed that President Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator, and that, therefore, there had to be a regime change in Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Thirdly, it was claimed that Iraq was linked to Al Qaeda, the elusive terrorist group that was thrust into the international limelight by its spectacular attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, and that, therefore, the war on Iraq was simply one phase of the wider war against international terrorism. This article examines the legality of the war on Iraq in the light of the reasons pleaded in its justification. This is done against the backdrop of the norm of jus cogens prohibiting the threat or use of force by states in their international relations as well as the law of international humanitarian law prohibiting certain means and methods in the conduct of war. The article also considers the ramifications of the war as well as the responsibility, under international law, of the leaders of the invading powers. It is the contention of this article that the war on Iraq breaches the law of the United Nations and violates international law. This transgression of the law, it is argued, engages the international responsibility of the invading powers and the major actors involved in the aggressive war. The article concludes that the war portends certain dangerous consequences regionally and internationally.

<b>Die inval op Irak : 'n uitdaging vir die Handves op die Voorkoming van Geweld in Interstaatlike Verhoudinge</b> <br>Kort voor die gewapende inval in Irak, het die VSA onsuksesvol gepoog om die sanksie van die VN vir die oorlog in Irak te verkry. Die VSA het Irak hierna op 20 Maart 2003 met die gewapende ondersteuning van Australië, Brittanje en Spanje binnegeval. Die aanval is met wêreldwye veroordeling en straatproteste begroet, waaraan die VSA en sy bondgenote hul egter nie gesteur het nie. As 'n rede vir die inval is aangevoer dat Irak oor wapens van massavernietiging beskik wat 'n gevaar vir die wêreld daarstel, en dat dit daarom noodsaaklik was om Irak militêr te oorweldig en te ontwapen. Daar is ook daarop gesteun dat President Saddam Hussein 'n roekelose diktator is, en dat 'n regimeverandering tot voordeel van die Irakese bevolking sal wees. Derdens is betoog dat Irak bande onderhou met Al Qaeda, die terroristegroep wat internasionale aandag op hulle gevestig het met die aanval in die VSA op 11 September 2001. Die argument was dus dat die oorlog in Irak bloot een fase van die wyer oorlog teen internasionale terrorisme uitmaak. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die regsgeldigheid van die oorlog in Irak in die lig van die redes wat as regverdiging daarvoor aangevoer is. Dit word gedoen teen die agtergrond van die norm van die jus cogens wat die gebruik van geweld deur state in hul internasionale verhoudinge verbied, sowel as die internasionale humanitêre reg waardeur sekere wyses en metodes van oorlogvoering verbied word. Die artikel ondersoek ook verdere uitvloeisels van die oorlog, sowel as die verantwoordelikheid, ingevolge die internasionale reg, van die leiers van invallende magte. Dit is die slotsom van hierdie artikel dat die oorlog in Irak 'n verbreking van die besluite van die Verenigde Nasies en die toepaslike internasionale reg daarstel. Hierdie regsoortreding, so word betoog, bring die internasionale verantwoordelikheid van die invallende magte en die hoof rolspelers wat betrokke is in die oorlog van agressie, in die spel. Die artikel kom tot die slotsom dat die oorlog bepaalde gevaarlike resultate op streeks- en internasionale vlak inhou.

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/content/juridic/28/2/EJC55508
2003-12-01
2016-12-04
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