Iraq president presses UN for international tribunal to try bombing suspects

Iraq president presses UN for international tribunal to try bombing suspects

[JURIST] Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Thursday urged the UN General Assembly [official website] to establish an independent international tribunal [statement, PDF] to investigate and try suspects in a recent series of deadly bombings. Talabani said that the scope and nature of the August 19 bombing of the foreign and finance ministries [BBC report] that left close to 100 dead necessitated an outside investigation. Despite noting progress in Iraqi security, foreign relations, and the economy, Talabani said:

The real danger currently facing Iraq is outside interference in its internal affairs which has committed the worst crimes against innocent Iraqis from various segments of society, men, women, children, and the elderly. In an attempt to destabilize security and stability achieved in Iraq during 2008 and 2009, Iraq has witnessed recently a series of bombings and terrorist attacks, the last of which was the "bloody Wednesday" explosions that targeted the Iraqi ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance which targeted the country's sovereign institutions on 19 August 2009. This led to many innocent victims, including many employees of the government, diplomats and administrators. These criminal acts and large number of victims have reached the level of genocide and crimes against humanity subject to punishment under international law. We believe these acts at this level of organization, complexity and magnitude cannot be planned, funded and implemented without support of external forces and parties and primary investigations indicate the involvement of external parties in the process.

Therefore, the government of the Republic of Iraq puts this important matter on the table of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and requests its submission to the Security Council for the purpose of forming an independent international investigation commission due to the nature and scope of the committed crimes which require an investigation outside the jurisdiction of Iraq and bring those found guilty to a special international criminal court.

Talabani also called on neighboring states [UN News Centre report] to help secure Iraq's borders to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Talabani's statement follows recent calls for an international tribunal [JURIST report] by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive]. Meeting with the US envoy in Iraq, al-Maliki described the worsening situation between Iraq and Syria [AP report], which has refused to hand over individuals suspected of planning the attacks. Al-Maliki's request for an international tribunal echo a letter [Reuters report] sent recently to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that was forwarded to the UN Security Council [official websites], in which al-Maliki asked that an independent international commission of inquiry be set up to investigate the attacks. The Security Council has yet to respond to the request.