Tag Archives: supreme international crime

DOJ Opposes Submission of Chilcot Report to Ninth Circuit

In papers filed Monday, August 1, 2016, the Department of Justice opposed the submission of the Chilcot Report to the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit in an ongoing litigation related to the legality of the Iraq War.

The case, Saleh v. Bush, involves claims by an Iraqi single mother and refugee that six high ranking members of the Bush Administration — George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Paul Wolfowitz — waged a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003, and that they should be personally responsible for the consequences of the unlawful invasion.

Defendants Bush and Rumsfeld shake hands

The plaintiff, Sundus Shaker Saleh, alleges that high ranking Bush-Administration officials intentionally misled the American people by making untrue claims that Iraq was in league with Al Qaida and that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. She also alleges that certain of the Defendants, and in particular, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, publically supported an invasion as early as 1998 and used 9/11 as an excuse to push for an invasion of Iraq, regardless of the consequences.

Ms. Saleh is relying on the judgments made by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal convened in 1946, which found German leaders liable for unlawful wars of aggression against neighboring countries. The Nuremberg judgment held that committing a war of aggression was the “supreme international crime.”

The conclusions of the Chilcot Report were submitted to the Ninth Circuit as further evidence of wrongdoing by the six defendants in the case. Ms. Saleh also provided copies of notes and letters from former Prime Minister Tony Blair to George W. Bush included in the Chilcot Report, in which Mr. Blair appeared to commit to the invasion with Mr. Bush as early as October 2001.

In opposing the submission of the Chilcot Report, the Department of Justice claims that the conclusions of the report remain subject to dispute, and that the facts are irrelevant to the issues on appeal.

In December 2014, the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the Defendants were immune from further proceedings under the federal Westfall Act(codified in part at 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671, 2674, 2679).

The Westfall Act provides immunity to former government employees from civil lawsuits if a Court determines that the employees were acting with the lawful scope of their employment.

Ms. Saleh is urging the Ninth Circuit to overturn the finding of immunity made by the District Court and to permit her lawsuit to proceed before the District Court.

Opposition to Motion for Judicial Notice

What is the Crime of Aggression?

The theory against the defendants in the Saleh v. Bush lawsuit — which include George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz — is that these individuals committed the “crime of aggression.”

What is the crime of aggression?


The crime of aggression was the chief crime prosecuted against Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials held at the end of World War II. While Nuremberg is remembered as the tribunal which prosecuted the Nazis for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the International Military Tribunal also held that the Nazis broke the law by planning and waging wars in violation of international treaty.

Under the rule of Nuremberg, waging a war of aggression is the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” (Emphasis added.)

In the Saleh v. Bush complaint, the plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh alleges that the defendants in this case planned and waged a war in violation of international law and thus committed the crime of aggression as defined by Nuremberg. Ms. Saleh alleges that the defendants began planning a war against Iraq as early as 1998 through the non-profit known as “The Project for the New American Century.” Ms. Saleh alleges that once in power, the defendants used 9/11 as an excuse to scare and mislead the American public into supporting a war against Iraq. Finally, the plaintiff alleges that the war was executed without proper legal authorization, constituting another act of aggression against the people of Iraq.

Ms. Saleh has filed suit against members of the Bush Administration under the Alien Tort Statute, which permits a non-US citizen to file suit for any tort “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” Thus, Ms. Saleh argues that she has the right to bring the Bush Administration to court as they violated the rule of Nuremberg, international law and international treaty in planning and waging the Iraq War.