Monday, March 19, 2007

As Iraq death toll "hits one million", ICC chief prosecutor says Blair and Bush could face war crimes trial.

The Morning Star reveals that it has spoken to Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court, to establish if Blair and Bush could face war crimes trials in the event of Iraq becoming a member-state. The response: "Whatever country joins the court can know that whoever commits a crime in their country could be prosecuted by me." That would, of course, be something that couldn't even begin as a notional process until such time as Iraq is free from occupation and has an independent government.

The Morning Star also reports on claims by Dr Gideon Polya that the death toll in Iraq had hit 1 million as of February this year. That may in fact be a valid claim, or at least in the vicinity of truth, although I would add that it isn't in fact based on a new survey, but an extrapolation of the Lancet's figures based on a uniform rate of excess deaths continuing for six months after the survey was completed. Further, the one million figure is based on a comparison not with the pre-war mortality figure but with those persisting in unoccupied neighbouring countries. It may in fact be an underestimate, since the mortality rate rather than remaining static has increased year on year. These are grim thoughts, catastrophic possibilities. But as a milestone, one million is unlikely to be the end of it. It cost up to five million to get the Americans out of Indochina.