Who besides the Justice Dept. has the legal standing to bring charges in a U.S. court against war criminals?

The War Crimes Act (1996) makes violation of various Hague, Geneva and Nuremburg protocols and treaties a United States federal offense. Who, then, can bring American war criminals to trial in a U.S. court? Please limit your answer to American courts! International tribunals cannot enforce U.S. law and do not have any jurisdiction over U.S. citizens, nor can they impose the death penalty, which is authorized by the War Crimes Act. While U.S. military personnel are subject to the UCMJ, a different federal law that also outlaws war crimes, that law does not apply to civilians. Note that the present Attorney General believes that the War Crimes Act does apply to officials of the U.S. government, but if the Justice Department will not proscecute them, who else can bring charges? If a federal grand jury can bring charges, how can ordinary citizens cause such a grand jury to be empaneled? I repeat, international tribunals are irrelevant to this question; do not bother mentioning them.


Congress can indeed empanel a federal grand jury. But given Nancy Pelosi's oppostion to impeachment, one has to assume for now that Congress will not act.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    That's a good question. What has to happen is there has to be a restructuring of the system, possibly by constitutional amendment, or at least a new set of laws, that specifically prohibits that kind of fraud that this president and his gang of Machiavellians has perpetrated. Their presence and what they have done, along with your question, are dramatic proof that the system is not working as it should. It is hard to believe that the founders did not anticipate a GW Bush, indeed, that's why it put in congresses' hands the power to declare war, which in the hands of one man or one small ideological group will always end up in an illegal war and many many war crimes in its prosecution

    As for Bush and Co., they will probably be safe legally speaking, since they have gamed a flawed legal system. I have a feeling that Bush's clumsy attempt to seize power and ignore international law has dramatically awakened our lawmakers who will respond, and perhaps head off a much greater challenge that comes in the form of a more clever future wannabe tyrant.

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  • ayoub
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Bush is honestly accountable of plenty, and his moves have presented about the shortcoming of lifestyles of thousands of thousands. What about Cheney, who some say is the rather mastermind? I woud be very in touch to work out if some thing will ensue. The Dems do not opt for to question him because it is going to take too a lot interest faraway from the artwork that desires to be carried out to rectify some ofhis wrongdoings. does no longer it truly is effective if this can ensue on a international aspect?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I guess there's really non if Geneva isn't included. May be some type of congressional probe?(could involve investigative media) and US supreme court or something. Its this kind of lawyer driven, sweeping war power thing that every body hide under now. Kind of sweet deal it is, to be able to decide what is 'war on terror' yourself and you decide how far one can go.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Jon H: that answer is quite telling..are you also of the idea that your leaders have committed reprehensible war crimes?

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  • Jon H
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    there is no other way, thank god.

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