Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The US and UK led invasion of Iraq in 2003 violates international law according to the Dutch Davids Committee

The independent investigation of a special committee led by Willibrord Davids, former president of the Dutch Supreme Court investigated the preparation and decision-making process of the Dutch government when it supported its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, the United States of America (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), at the time they invaded Iraq. The report led to political problems amongst the coalition partners within the present Dutch government. The government will study the report thoroughly before it will give an in depth comment on the investigation.

The report of the Davids committee said that there was no legal mandate for the political support of the Dutch government of the 2003 Iraq invasion. The 550 pages long report with 49 conclusions said that the United Nations Security Council resolution 1441 of 2002 provided no legal mandate for the US and the UK-led invasion of Iraq. [1]
This was contrary to the opinion of the Netherlands at that time. In the Prime Minister's words, 'A new resolution, while desirable, was not legally necessary. [2] During that time, a substantial parliamentary majority backed the Dutch government in their decision to give political support to the US and UK-led invasion of Iraq. The government was convinced that a sound judgment had been made.[3]

According to the Davids Committee, the wording of resolution 1441 does not offer a legal basis for the use of force to influence Iraq: “the wording of resolution 1441 cannot reasonably be interpreted as authorizing individual Member States to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council’s resolutions, without authorization from the Security Council”. [4]

According to the Davids inquiry, "the decision to support the invasion of Iraq was based mainly on international political considerations" instead of legal examination. [5] The report says that the purpose of the Iraq war of 2003 was not consistent with Dutch government policy. [6] The Prime Minister was pleased that the Committee “found no evidence whatsoever for Dutch military involvement in the invasion of Iraq”. [7]

Another issue which caused concern is that according to the committee, the Dutch government had not been frank with the Dutch Parliament. It never mentioned that in 2002, prior to the invasion of Iraq, the USA requested The Netherlands to cooperate and to support the mobilization of military force against Iraq. ” [8]

The committee concluded that the Dutch government based their support to the USA and the UK- led invasion of Iraq on public documents and information of the UK and the USA which were found to be flawed. [9] The information of the Dutch intelligence services, the AIVD and the MIVD however were more nuanced than the foreign reports concerning Iraq. The Dutch government chose to emphasize only those aspects of the reports which were in the interest of the position that had already been taken. [10]

In the UK the Chilcot inquiry concerning the decision of the government of the UK to invade Iraq in 2003 is still in progress. According to experts, the conclusions of the Davids committee report concerning information of intelligence services about the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have serious political implications for the UK. The Davids committee report raises questions about the use of the information of intelligence services. The Davids committee questions the decisions of the UK which were not based on a proper legal investigation of the implications of the decision to go to war. ”[11]

Links

Rapport Commissie van Onderzoek Besluitvorming Irak. On page 517 of the report you can find an English summary followed by a conclusion.
Iraq invasion had no legal mandate, says Dutch panel. An article from The Independent.
Iraq invasion violated international law, Dutch inquiry finds. An article from the Guardian.
Chilcot inquiry casts new doubts on Iraq war. An article from the Guardian.
Committee to investigate Dutch decision-making on Iraq. Press releases and news items from the Dutch government.
Balkenende: thorough report by Davids Committee. Press releases and news items from the Dutch government.

Footnotes

[1] See: Iraq invasion had no legal mandate, says Dutch panel. An article from The Independent.
[2] As quoted from: Balkenende: thorough report by Davids Committee . Press releases and news items from the Dutch Government. See also Rapport Commissie van Onderzoek Besluitvorming Irak, Conclusions, par.19, p.530.
[3] As quoted from: Balkenende: thorough report by Davids Committee . Press releases and news items from the Dutch Government.
[4] As quoted from Rapport Commissie van Onderzoek Besluitvorming Irak, Conclusions, par.18, p.530.
[5] As quoted from Ibid, Conclusions,par. 14, p. 530.
[6] As quoted from Ibid, Conclusions, par.7, p.529.
[7] As quoted from: Balkenende: thorough report by Davids Committee
. Press releases and news items from the Dutch Government See also: Rapport Commissie van Onderzoek Besluitvorming Irak, Conclusions, par. 39, p. 532.
[8] As quoted from Ibid, Conclusions, par.33, p.532
[9] See Ibid,Conclusions, par.30, p.531. See also Chilcot inquiry casts new doubts on Iraq war. An article from the Guardian
[10] See Ibid, Conclusions, par.25-32, p.531-532.
[11] See: Iraq invasion violated international law, Dutch inquiry finds. An article from the Guardian. And see: Chilcot inquiry casts new doubts on Iraq war. An article from the Guardian


1 comment:

sajtfej??? :) said...

It is very sad to see that Holland does not have separated opinion how it should act in certain situation..like this one...and now one committee has also confirmed that the Dutch government started the invasion against Iraq merely based on SUPPORT to US and UK!!! Shame...