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International Criminal Tribunal for Iraq After the First Gulf War: What Should Have Been

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2009 Pages: 308-321
Harry M. Rhea
Date Published
September 2009
14 pages
This article reviews the historical events of the First Gulf War, the consideration of an international criminal tribunal to prosecute Saddam Hussein by the United States from 1991 to 2002, and how the moral reputation of the United States in the international society may be different today if an international criminal tribunal for Iraq had been created after the First Gulf War.
In response to Iraq's aggression against Kuwait, and the failure to abide to multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, the international community established a coalition and, with United States leadership, entered the armed conflict in January 1991, to assist the Kuwaiti people and drive the Iraqi army out of their country. The success of the war was thought to have provided the perfect opportunity to arrest, charge, and prosecute Saddam Hussein for genocide and war crimes. However, this opportunity to prosecute Saddam was not aggressively pursued and international support waned, with the eventual demise for an international criminal tribunal United States' initiative. The purpose of this article is to put into greater context that during and after the First Gulf War, from 1990 to 1992, the United States modestly attempted to establish a regional criminal tribunal to prosecute Saddam Hussein. It argues that if not for the failure of international criminal justice in Iraq after the First Gulf War, the United States possibly would not have invaded Iraq in March 2003. It also analyzes the pursuit of international criminal justice after the United States found and arrested Saddam Hussein in 2003 during the Iraq War. References