David Weissbrodt, Joan Fitzpatrick, and Frank Newman, International Human Rights—Law, Policy, and Process (3d ed. 2001).
Supplement to Chapter 7: Humanitarian Intervention (November 2003)
The U.S. was a supporter of the
Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and even extended
that support into the period prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990
that precipitated the Gulf War of 1991 in which the U.S. and allied forces
expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
Following the end of hostilities, a 1991 uprising by Shi’ite religious
and political groups in the South was brutally repressed by Saddam Hussein
without intervention by the
The Bush administration focused on
During the invasion, the Hussein government did not use any chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons against the U.S.-led forces. There were several false alarms from units accompanied by reporters stating that possible caches of chemical or biological weapons had been found. As of the writing of this supplement, the only evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq are what appear to be two mobile laboratories, neither of which have shown any evidence of being used for the production of biological weapons, although they could be used for that function. Following the end of primary hostilities and the beginning of the occupation, and as the search for weapons of mass destruction had yet to produce any results, the Bush administration emphasized the humanitarian argument that Saddam Hussein’s government was of such a brutal and repressive nature that it deserved to be subject to humanitarian intervention or “regime change.” The administration focused on the horrific nature of the Hussein government and the benefits that the intervention brought to the Iraqi people.
It is clear that between the Gulf
War and the 2003
the 1988 Halabja massacre, when the
Hussein government used mustard gas against a village population on the border
- the genocidal campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to 1989.
The Powell presentation did not
mention any impending human rights violations or any argument that the
magnitude of the violations was so great as to necessitate intervention. The Human Rights Watch report on Iraq during
2002 states that Iraq continued “to
commit widespread and gross human rights violations,” including extra-judicial
killings, forced migrations, and lack of fair trial rights. The report does not present any argument that
intervention by the
For further reading on the Invasion of Iraq and humanitarian intervention, see:
Patrick McLain, Settling The Score With Saddam:
Resolution 1441 And Parallel Justifications For The Use Of Force Against
Christopher Clarke Posteraro, Intervention
George K. Walker, Principles For Collective Humanitarian Intervention To Succor Other Countries' Imperiled Indigenous Nationals, 18 AM. U. INT’L. L. REV. 35 (2002);
Daphne Richemond, Normativity in International Law: The Case of Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention, 6 Yale H.R. & Dev. L. J. 45 (2003);
Jeffrey S. Morton, The Legality of NATO’s Intervention in Yugoslavia in 1999: Implications for the Progressive Development of International Law, 9 ILSA J. Int’l & Comp. L. 75 (2002);
Jennifer L. Czernecki, The United Nations’ Paradox: The
George K. Walker, Principles for Collective Humanitarian Intervention to Succor Other Countries’ Imperiled Indigenous Nationals, 18 Am. U. Int’l Rev. 35 (2002);
James Meernik, Steven C. Poe, & Erum Shaikh, Human Rights, Democracy, and U.S. Military Intervention, Paper Prepared for the Annual Convention of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago (2003) [See the supplement to Chapter 10 for an abstract of this paper.]
 See Coursebook at 348.
Human Rights Watch World Report 1989, Human Rights Watch, available
In 2003 mass graves from that period were uncovered and
witnesses provided more information about the scope of the repression.
See The Mass
President's Remarks at the United Nations General
News Release: President Pleased with U.N. Vote,
Available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/iraq/20030205-1.html
Presidential Remarks: President
Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours,
 Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, US Hedges on Finding Iraqi Weapons, Washington Post, May 29, 2003, at A01, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51355-2003May28.html (last visited November 17, 2003).
President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended,
President Bush’ Speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/iraq/20030501-15.html
 See Coursebook at 346-48.