Barcelona tribunal says Iraq resistance is justified
Published Jun 7, 2005 9:22 PM
Given the history of this city's role in the movement
opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it's not surprising that Barcelona was the
site of an important three-day tribunal--which ruled May 22 that many of the
acts involved in the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq constitute war
President of the Iraq World Tribunal,
Francois Houtard, reads the final verdict.
Left: Sharon Ceci Black,
International Action Center;
right: Carlos Jimenez Villarejo.
On Feb. 15, 2003, Barcelona, Catalonia, saw the world's
biggest protest against the impending U.S. war on Iraq. Over 1.5 million people
clogged the city's streets.
Close to 4 million people in Spain's
various national regions marched that day. At the height of the U.S. bombing of
Iraq, workers went on strike in protest.
This massive anti-war
movement played a pivotal role in the defeat of Spain's Prime Minister Jose
Maria Anzar's government in April 2004, and forced the withdrawal of Spain's
troops from Iraq. It also gave enormous encouragement to the world's
The May tribunal's conclusions support sovereignty for
Iraq and the Iraqi people's right to resist. They call for all military
contingents to immediately leave Iraq, dismantle their bases and cease
These conclusions were the culmination of sessions
and events held in Andalucia, Asturias, Catalonia, Basque Country, Madrid, and
the Region of Valencia. The Barcelona tribunal was part of the World Tribunal on
Iraq--whose sessions began in Brussels, Belgium, in April 2004 and will
culminate June 23-27 in Istanbul, Turkey. Sessions have been held all over
Japan; in Copenhagen, Denmark; Lisbon, Portugal; Mumbai, India; Seoul, South
Korea; Stockholm, Sweden; New York; Rome; and many other cities.
delegation from Iraq--led by Iman Ahmed Khamas, an Iraqi journalist and
translator--testified to current conditions in Iraq under U.S. occupation. The
Iraqi delegates included oil workers, community organizers from Baghdad, a
doctor who volunteered to treat the wounded and sick after the U.S. massacre in
the city of Falluja, and representatives of various human-rights
U.S. tries to divide
Yawad Mohammad Mahdi al-Khalisi, secretary general of Iraqi
Foundational National Congress and imam of Al Khadimiya Mosque in Baghdad, was
clear in his statements, saying "It is not the Iraqi people or the resistance
who are dividing or inflicting harm on the people--it is the occupation forces
that are responsible for divisions--we are one people." He was referring to
supposed difference between Sunni and Shiite Moslems, and to U.S./Pentagon
attempts to divide Iraqi into a weak federated government.
Intisar Muhammad Araibi brought tears to many eyes as she recounted the needless
deaths in Iraqi hospitals of children who are denied
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark was an
honorary member of the panel. He was unable to attend but sent a videotaped
Members of the panel that judged the evidence
included: Francois Houtart, Belgian sociologist and theologist, who served as
president; Mercedes Garcia Aran, professor of criminal law at Barcelona
University; Carlos Jiminez Villarejo, former anti-corruption prosecutor at the
Spanish National Audience; Sharon Marie Ceci of the International Action Center
in the United States; Pedro Martinez Montovez, Arabist, professor emeritus of
Arab and Islam at the Autonomous University of Madrid; Maria Pilar Massana
Lloren, member of Aturem la Guerra (Stop the War) Barcelona, PASI-CEOSI; and
Jaume Saura, professor of international law at the Barcelona University and
president of the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia.
organizers of the event, like their counterparts in the United States, are
grappling with the tough question of how to revive the massive anti-war movement
and how to deepen the struggle against the occupation of Iraq. Many of the
issues and debates are similar. How to support the Iraqi resistance? How to
bring hundreds of thousands of people back into the streets?
Barcelona and World Tribunal on Iraq considers itself to be a contribution in
this direction. It is a serious effort to document history and to expose U.S.
The writer attended the Barcelona Tribunal as a
representative and labor coordinator for the International Action Center. She
served as a judge on the panel against U.S. occupation.
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