15 July 2008

War crimes charges against al-Bashir could create precedent for Bush prosecution

War crimes charges filed against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday removed an obstacle to a similar prosecution of U.S. President George Bush.

The 10 charges filed by the International Criminal Court, ranging from genocide, crimes against humanity and murder, represent the first time the ICC has levied war crimes charges against a sitting head of state. In the past, specific war crimes tribunals were convened to charge Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic and Charles Taylor of Liberia but only after they were out of power.

While exact figures on the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of that nation are not known, Iraq: The Human Cost, a website maintained by the MIT Center on International Studies, cites two leading reports, one of which claims the number was 1 million as of September 2007. The 1 million estimated was developed by British polling agency ORB (Opinion Research Business). Almost a year earlier, in October 2006, the British medical journal, The Lancet, estimated that more than 650,000 Iraqis had died since the U.S. defied international law and invaded Iraq in March 2003.

On a related matter, Bush told a press conference this morning that the economy is just fine, a message that NPR Radio commentators said was probably more optimistic that what the public could expect from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernancke later today. I did not that think it was possible for anyone to be more in denial about the state of the economy than the Federal Reserve Board.