Saleh v. Bush

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Saleh v. Bush was a 2013 class action lawsuit filed against members of the George W. Bush administration for their alleged involvement in premeditating and carrying out the Iraq War. The suit is being brought to court by Inder Comar of Comar Law, against former president George W. Bush, former vice president Dick Cheney, former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, former national security adviser and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state Colin Powell, and former deputy secretary of defense and president of the World Bank Paul Wolfowitz.[1] [2] On 19 December 2014, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.[3]

Lead plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh alleged that the defendants planned the war as early as 1998, capitalizing on the September 11 attacks in 2001 to ramp up support for the invasion through fear tactics and intentional misinformation. The suit argued that the true purpose of the subsequent war in 2003 was to enact regime change in Iraq, and as such the war was not carried out in self defense, nor with the authorization of the UN Security Council or other relevant international treaties.[1]

As such, the defendants were accused of conspiring and committing the crime of aggression against the Iraqi people, a violation of the Nuremberg Principles on crimes against peace.[1]

On 19 December, 2014, the court made a ruling on the motion of the U.S. Department of Justice to substitute itself for all of the defendants and dismiss the action with prejudice and on the plaintiff's motion for an evidentiary hearing. The DOJ cited the Westfall Act,[4] claiming that the defendants were acting within their scope of employment when planning and waging the Iraq War, and therefore can not be held individually accountable for the harm caused. The Westfall Act rules that harm done within the scope of employment is the responsibility of the employer. In this case the employer is the United States government, which is protected by sovereign immunity, the legal doctrine that a sovereign state can not commit a crime and is immune from prosecution. The court ruled that the burden was on the plaintiff to provide evidence that the defendants were not acting withing the scope of their employment. In the absence of that evidence, the court granted the DoJ's claim of sovereign immunity and dismissed the lawsuit.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Complaint for Conspiracy to Comit Aggression; and the Crime of Aggression, Saleh v. Bush, U.S.D.C., Northern District of California, March 13, 2013
  2. ^ Wing, Nick. "Iraqi Mom Faces Justice Department Pushback In Lawsuit Against Bush, Cheney For War Crimes". Huffington Post. 
  3. ^ a b "ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS" (PDF). Witness Iraq. Witness Iraq. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Balboa, Juan R. (1995). Legislative Reform: The Westfall Act and Scope of Employment: The Role of the Attorney General. Journal of Legislation.