Legal And Human Rights Groups Issue Open Letter Warning Of Illegality Of Any
Offensive Military Action By U.S. Against Iran

WASHINGTON - February 1 - Today European, international and United States
legal and human rights groups issued an open letter warning of the
illegality of any offensive military action by the United States against
Iran. Signatories include the American Association of Jurists, Center for
Constitutional Rights (U.S.), Droite Solidarite (France), European
Association of Lawyers for Human Rights and Democracy, Italian Association
of Democratic Lawyers, Haldane Society (United Kingdom), International
Association of Democratic Lawyers, Indian Association of Lawyers, (India),
Japanese Association of Lawyers for International Solidarity, (Japan),
Lawyers Against War (Canada), National Lawyers Guild (U.S.), Progress
Lawyers Network (Belgium).

Open Letter to All Members of Congress, the Bush Administration And the U.S.
Armed Forces From Legal and Human Rights Groups

There are increasing indications that the Bush administration intends to
take military action against Iran. There are also indications that the
administration would support military action by Israel against Iran.

The undersigned organizations issue this Open Letter to All Members of
Congress, the Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces to reiterate their
affirmative duties to prevent military action and to refrain from ongoing
threats to peace.

Offensive military action against Iran would be illegal, as the United
is bound under the United Nations Charter to settle international
disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity of any state or act in any other manner
inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations. (Article 2 sections 3
and 4). While Article 51 of the charter recognizes the inherent right of
individual or collective self defense, such a right exists only if an armed
attack occurs and is allowed only until the Security Council can take
measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Any other
type of military action by the United States would not be in compliance with
the UN Charter.

The UN Charter, as a treaty ratified by the U.S., is part of the Supreme Law
of the United States under Article VI 2 of the United States Constitution.
If the President and Congress fail to abide by the law as provided in the
Constitution they violate their sacred oaths of office.

Any military action against Iran in the absence of a military strike by Iran
would be a war of aggression outlawed under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

If the United States or any other nation were to act outside of its UN
obligations it would risk starting a war of aggression and committing a
crime against peace. Furthermore, the sending of aircraft carriers combined
with recent threatening statements constitutes a threat to wage a war with
Iran. This is also prohibited by the Charter. Principle VI of the Nuremberg
Principles also makes crimes against peace punishable under international
law. Crimes against peace include: planning, preparation, initiation or
waging a war of aggression in violation of international treaties,
agreements, or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy
to accomplish these acts.

The United States and all countries that have ratified the UN Charter are
required to abide by their obligations under it. It is in the interests of
all countries of the world that the United Nations be a viable multilateral
institution capable of carrying out the mission of its charter to preserve
peace and promote development and human rights. Actions which violate that
charter undermine it. Actions by the U.S. which violate the charter prevent
the UN from acting effectively; they also undermine the credibility of the
United States in the world community. The U.S. cannot demand that other
countries obey the terms of the UN Charter while it is violating those very
provisions with impunity.

The War Powers Act, which requires congressional approval of military
action, must be read consistently with our obligations under the UN Charter
and international law not to engage in wars of aggression. We urge:

1. The President, Vice President, and all other members of the Bush
administration who have a decision-making role with regard to taking
military action in Iran, to immediately renounce such efforts to engage in
this war;

2. The members of the military to refuse any requests by the administration
to invade or take other military action against Iran in light of the
illegality of such actions; and

3. That Congress immediately pass a binding resolution reaffirming the
United States' legal obligations and informing the President and the
administration that it will not concur in any invasion of or military action
against Iran, would refuse to approve funding for any such military action,
and would consider actions taken in contravention of the resolution as
impeachable offenses.

The American Association of Jurists
Vanessa Ramos, Secretary General, vramos1565 at
Clea Carpi da Rocha, President, carpi at
Beinusz Szmukler, szmukler at

The Center for Constitutional Rights
Vincent Warren, Executive Director, vwarren at
Bill Goodman, Legal Director, bgoodman at

Droite Solidarite
Roland Weyl, President, mrwjur at

European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights
RA Thomas Schmid, Secretary General, ra-th-schmidt at t-online.dem
Professor Bill Bowring, b.bowring at

Haldane Society, United Kingdom
Liz Davies, liz at

International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Jitendra Sharma, President, jsharma at
Jeanne Mirer, Secretary General, mirerfam at

Indian Association of Lawyers
Mr. G.K.Bansal, General Secretary, gkb at
Mr. T.M.Mohammed Youseff, General Secretary, youseffdelhi at

Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers
Fabio Marcelli, fabio.marcelli at

Japanese Association of Lawyers for International Solidarity, Japan
Osamu Niikura, Secretary General, oniikura at

Lawyers Against the War, Canada
Gail Davidson, Chair, law at

National Lawyers Guild
Marjorie Cohn, President, libertad48 at

Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium
Jan Fermon, jan.fermon at