The invasion of Afghanistan by British and American troops is an obvious breach of international law and those politicians who arranged and supported it must be held liable for their actions as war criminals.
The international legal basis for defining what constitutes “waging aggressive war” goes back to the League of Nations, and specifically the 1933 London convention, signed, ironically, by a number of nations which included Afghanistan.
According to that convention, an act of aggression was defined as an invasion by one “with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another state.” The convention was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on March 29, 1934.
It was however in 1945 that the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal defined what it called “crimes against peace” which later became known as the Nuremberg Principles.
These principles stated that the nation which starts an armed conflict must prove that it is exercising the right of self-defence of the right of collective defence.
The Charter of the United Nations was drawn up to include the Nuremberg Principles, and specifically Nuremberg Principle VI.a. To this end the UN Charter’s Article 2, paragraph 4, states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Article 33 of that Charter goes on to state that “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”
Furthermore, Article 39 of the UN Charter says that “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
In essence then, the UN Charter, which has been ratified by the American and British governments, says that all UN member states must settle their international disputes by peaceful means, and no member nation can use military force except in self-defence.
The invasion of Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, was never authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and is therefore illegal in terms of the UN Charter. As such, it is a de facto breach of international law.
The American and British governments have argued that UN authorisation was not needed because the invasion was an “act of collective self-defence” (as defined by Article 51 of the UN Charter) after the attacks of 11 September 2001.
This argument is clearly fallacious, as the state of Afghanistan was not involved in the events of 9-11. Individual terrorists, most of whom were Egyptian and Saudi Arabian in origin, carried out the attacks, and not the Afghan state.
The warmongers further claimed that the Afghan government refused to extradite Osama Bin Laden, which was another lie. In fact, the Taliban did offer to extradite Bin Laden, but set conditions which were unacceptable to the American government.
In any event, there can be no legal justification to invade an entire country just because some foreign nationals who might have been residing in that nation carried out a terrorist attack in a third country.
If that principle were valid, then Britain would have been “justified” in invading the Irish republic during the Troubles in Northern Ireland because some IRA members hid out in Eire. Any such invasion would have been instantly dismissed as outrageous (justifiably so) but this is the exact same logic which has been applied to Afghanistan.
The only possible conclusion is that the initial invasion of Afghanistan was a clear breach of the Nuremberg Principles and the United Nations Charter.
During the Nuremberg trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, said that “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
George W Bush, Tony Blair, then Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith and all the politicians and military apparatchiks responsible for this greatest crime against humanity of our time, must be held responsible in a criminal court of law.