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Howard risks war crimes charges.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Leader of the Australian Democrats

20 March 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/156

Howard Risks War Crimes Charges The Australian Democrats today called for Prime Minister John Howard to guarantee Australian troops would not be involved in any action by the allied forces against Iraq that breached international humanitarian law.

Democrats leader Senator Andrew Bartlett said by following the US to war, Mr Howard could face prosecution in the International Criminal Court for the actions of any allied forces, including the US military, involved in the slaughter of civilians.

“This Government has followed the US into this illegal and immoral war against the wishes of the Australian Parliament and the Australian people.

“ Mr Howard is now so tied to the US, and has not had the gumption to insist US President George Bush comply with our accepted rules of engagement, that he must face the consequences of the actions of the combined forces,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Mr Howard must be aware he risks investigation and prosecution for his complicity in any war crimes committed in the action against Iraq.”

Senator Bartlett said the Australian Democrats fully supported Australia’s troops.

“Our own troops should not be vulnerable to the ramifications of US military actions. Australian troops deserve our full support,” Senator Bartlett said.

“It is this Government, Mr Howard and his Cabinet that have made the abhorrent decision to commit them to this aggressive action.”

Senator Bartlett said the Democrats shared the concerns of a broad range of church, humanitarian, civil liberties, union and community organisations that the US led attack on Iraq may involve committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Senator Bartlett said the Democrats supported the Victorian Peace Network affiliates and committee of international law expert’s investigations into the Howard Government’s actions.

To arrange interview with Senator Bartlett contact Katrina Beikoff on 0419 867 649