Iraq’s Baath party, forcibly removed from power by the US-led invasion of 2003, believes leaked American military documents could help it sue the US government over the war.
Baathist officials are planning to meet with international law experts in March to discuss the possibility of taking legal action against Washington, party members said.
They believe the publication by WikiLeaks of 400,000 papers that the US army had intended to keep secret has bolstered the chances of making a case.
The WikiLeaks files, released last month, documented a litany of prisoner abuse and civilian deaths at the hands of US forces and, according to the whistle-blowing website, contained evidence of possible war crimes by US troops
“The [WikiLeaks] documents are very important because they expose the facts of the illegal occupation to the world,” Abu Mohammad, the official Baath party spokesman, said in an interview. “Perhaps they will constitute the basis for a future legal case against the criminals involved in the war, and will force them to pay compensation to the victims of the destruction of the state of Iraq.
“The documents are evidence and they will support proper legal action to secure the rights of Iraqis, if not by us now then by future generations.”
Abu Mohammad, who spoke on condition he be identified only by this nom de guerre, is the official spokesman of the Iraqi Baath party.
The Baathists are hardly human rights defenders but it is perfectly reasonable to hold the Americans to account for their litany of crimes against Iraq.