Sanctions against Iraq have now killed more than 750,000 human beings

The following letter was sent to the Security Council Memebers

by Ramsey Clark.

October 2, 1997

Dear Ambassador,

On October 10, 1997 the Security Council will again consider whether the government of Iraq has complied with commands in Security Council resolutions directed to it for acts of more than seven years ago. Every member of the United Nations knows the United States will insist that the genocidal Security Council sanctions against Iraq continue, whatever the facts may show. Those sanctions have now killed more than 750,000 human beings, perhaps twice that many, the great majority, infants, children, older persons and those who suffered serious chronic illnesses. I have regularly reported the genocidal effects of these sanctions to the Security Council since early 1991. See, also, UPI,9/28/79, attached.

The United States has made clear its intention to maintain the sanctions against Iraq until the present government is replaced by a government that will support the permanent dominance and military presence of the United States in the Gulf region.

One does not have to be a lawyer, just a reasoning person, to know that the sanctions against Iraq violate the Genocide Convention. Genocide is defined in the Convention, in part, as "... acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group as such" by means including "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring its physical destruction, in whole or in part." Article II, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Sanctions which are continued with the knowledge that they have already killed more than 750,000 people in Iraq and physically damaged and radically shortened the lives of millions more unquestionably constitute genocide. Every person who votes to continue these sanctions while serving as a representative of a government on the Security Council and the government that authorizes or instructs that representative to vote for sanctions is guilty of the crime, just as members of a group that agreed to murder would be guilty of murder.

It does not take a lawyer, only a sentient human being, to know that genocide cannot be committed, or threatened, in order to force a person, or a nation, to obey a command, or a law of utmost importance. In the height of a war, a nation cannot resort to genocide, or its threat, to force surrender of an enemy, if international law has any meaning, otherwise genocide will become omnicide. Iraq was at full strength when its forces were crushed by U.S. bombing in 1991 with insignificant casualties to U.S. forces and others joined with them. In the present circumstances of death, sickness and malnutrition, Iraq is incapable of war. U.S. claims to the contrary are a hoax, as every U.N. Member knows. The U.S. claim of September 29 that Iraq, Iran and North Korea are the only countries with "both the desire and the means to challenge the United States militarily" manifests U.S. aggression. The U.S. could wipe out all three countries with one Trident II nuclear submarine. It prefers to isolate and starve them down. See, UPI, 9/29/97; UPI, 9/30/97, attached.

Here the United Nations itself has been coerced and induced to the genocidal policy by the United States which like scores of other nations has defied the U.N., the Security Council and the International Court of Justice with impunity, when it chooses to do so. No country has ever had sanctions of such death dealing magnitude imposed on it. For these reasons and their meaning in our history and destiny and for the future of the U.N., the sanctions against Iraq are the most destructive crime of the most violent 20th Century.

The Security Council should act to end the sanctions immediately. The human condition in Iraq is in its most tragic state since 1991 and the death rate from the sanctions at its highest level.


Ramsey Clark