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2003-03-27

Iraqi Families Sue Powell, Cheney, and Bush, Sr. Over Bombing of Civilian Shelter in 1991 That Killed Over 400 People

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Iraqi civilians are still trying obtain justice over the first Gulf War. Last week, a group of Iraqis sued Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State General Colin Powell, former US president George Bush Sr., and retired US general Norman Schwartzkopf.

The lawsuit was filed by seven Iraqi families over the bombing of a civilian bomb shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people on the night of February 12-13, 1991.

Powell served as the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and Cheney as defense secretary during the 1991 Gulf war.

Under Belgian law, courts can try suspects for war crimes regardless of where the alleged acts took place or the nationality of the accused.

But the Belgian parliament has just passed a law that could prevent the suit from going forward. Under the amendment, a federal prosecutor can decide in certain cases whether to accept a lawsuit. The amendment now goes to the Belgian Senate for approval.

  • Reed Brody, Special Counsel for Prosecutions, Human Rights Watch.

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