Voices in the Wilderness

PCJF Updates

  • Background

    1.5 million Iraqis died as a consequence of the brutal U.S. imposed sanctions regime, most of whom were the most vulnerable of the population - children and the elderly. The purpose of the sanctions program was to intentionally bring death and destruction upon the civilian population of Iraq in order to destabilize the Iraqi Government headed by Saddam Hussein. Deprived of clean water or access to some of the most basic medicines, hundreds of thousands of children died horrible needless deaths.

    Voices in the Wilderness sought to end this unconscionable sanctions regime, and to provide medicine to dying children.  The United States government is prosecuting VITW in federal court for these actions.

    The Partnership for Civil Justice, also working with civil rights attorney William Quigley, has stepped forward to defend Voices against this prosecution and filed a counter-claim against the U.S. government for its own actions.

    The case presents questions of the most central legal and moral issues: Can a government - - engaged in the intentional targeting and killing of civilians - - lawfully impose punishment upon humanitarians who deliver critically needed medical supplies to sick and dying civilian victims? Our position is that this action, the delivery of medical supplies to civilian victims, is an act privileged under international human rights law and that Voices in the Wilderness cannot properly be prosecuted for this conduct.

    The ramifications of this litigation are significant, as the Government continues to impose lethal economic sanctions against civilians, such as the people of Cuba.

    The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 78 U.N.T.S. 277, executed in 1948, andratified by the United States, and which carries the binding force of the law of nations, prohibits genocide or complicity in genocide. Seealso, 18 U.S.C. 1091. 
    "In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
            (a)     Killing members of the group;
            (b)     Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
            (c)     Deliberately inflicting upon the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part..."

  • Legal Information

    United States Department of Treasury v. Voices in the Wilderness
    United States District Court for the District of Columbia
    Error in tag 'tag' - No such tag slug voices_in_wilderness_document
  • Press Coverage

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