[JURIST] Australian advocacy group International Criminal Court Action (ICCACTION) [official website] sent a brief [text] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Friday requesting charges be laid against former Australian Prime Minister John Howard for war crimes in connection with his deployment of Australian troops to support the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. The brief alleges Howard committed crimes in violation of the ICC's foundational Rome Statute [text, DOC]:
It is the unwarranted and excessively lethal nature of the conduct itself of this attack and invasion defined under Article 8, 2, (b), (iv), which is the subject of war crimes allegations....that this decision and action was utterly excessive as reasonable conduct, when considering the potential impact of available options in achieving the stated aim of proving the facts of untested assertions of the existence of WMDs in Iraq.Howard had defended the legality of sending Australian troops [JURIST report] to the US-led war when he committed the troops in 2003.
On Monday, Australian Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon [official profile] announced the withdrawal [media release] of Australia's final contingent of 550 combat troops from Iraq. In 2004, the now-disbanded UK group Legal Action Against War made similar Iraq-related war crimes allegations against then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair [BBC report]. ABC Australia has more.