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Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Romano L. Mazzoli (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Romano L. L. Mazzoli, Michael J. Kopetski, John Bryant, Howard L. Berman, Charles E. Schumer, Bill McCollum, Lamar S. Smith, and Craig T. James.

Also present: Gene Pugliese, chief counsel; and Carmel Fisk, minority counsel.

Mr. MAZZOLI. The meeting will come to order. We are privileged to have today the chairman of the full committee, the Honorable Jack Brooks of Texas. Mr. Chairman, we thank you for taking time out this morning to join us, and if you have any statements to give us leadership and guidance in this, we would be very happy to receive them.


Mr. BROOKS. Thank you very much, Chairman Mazzoli. First, to you and the members of the International Law Subcommittee, I want to congratulate you for devoting this first hearing of your subcommittee in the 102d Congress to the important topic of the legal issues involved in war crime tribunals.

In the euphoria that surrounds our military victory in the Persian Gulf, it would be an unfortunate circumstance for us to lose sight of why we and the other members of our coalition went to the gulf in the first place-to ensure that the aggressive behavior that went beyond the bounds of international law would not be allowed to stand. We've been victorious in the battlefield. Now we must ensure that the law of the Nation is upheld. This hearing, focusing on the international law framework in which the aggressors could be made to answer for war crimes, is an important first step in the process.

Nearly a half century ago, at the conclusion of the Second World War, the nations of the world established an important precedent that justice and the law of nations must be carried out in respect to crimes that may have been committed against other nations and against humanity. The purpose of the Nuremberg and the Tokyo


War Tribunal was not vengeance or retribution. Rather, the purpose of those tribunals was to enforce the principle of personal accountability and to put present and future civilian and military leaders who plan, order, and execute war crimes on notice that they are personally responsible for their actions. If we fail to uphold this principle in the current situation, we run the risk of sanctioning future aggression. We would also diminish the values and principles that led us to take action in the first place.

Mr. Chairman, you have assembled an impressive roster of scholars whose experience and academic background make them eminently qualified to shed light on the issues of war crimes tribunals within the context of international law.

Their insights will enable us to proceed to action in a manner which is legally sound and effective. I want to congratulate you and your committee again for commencing your subcommittee's activities for this Congress with your oversight into this topic. It's certain to produce beneficial results for the Congress, for the country, and for the world.

Mr. MAZZOLI. Well, sir, thank you very much. I have no questions. Would any of the panel have? Apparently not. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

With your permission, I will put into the record, too, your press release which I thought also tended to frame the issues very nicely. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

[The news release follows:]

BROOKS ANNOUNCES WAR CRIMES HEARINGS BY HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE The House Judiciary Committee will begin immediate hearings on the legal issues surrounding war crime tribunals, Congressman Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) announced today. The hearings will begin next week before the Judiciary Subcommittee on International Law, Immigration, and Refugees, chaired by Congressman Romano L. Mazzoli (D-Ky.). The Subcommittee hearings, in the context of recent events in the Persian Gulf, will focus on the requirements that must be satisfied under international law before opening a Persian Gulf war crimes tribunal, as well as the question of under whose auspices such an international tribunal should be created.

Brooks, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, noted, "While the fighting in the Persian Gulf seems to have subsided, we must not delay in ensuring that justice in the laws of nations be carried out with respect to crimes that may have been committed against other nations and against humanity. Just as it was necessary for the country to state to Saddam Hussein that his aggression against Kuwait would not stand, so too must the world uphold the principle that civilian and military leaders who plan, order and carry out 'war crimes' are personally responsible for their actions. Without such a step, we will only be sanctioning future aggressive acts by offering no punishment or deterrence."

The last tribunais that were established to try war crimes, in Nuremberg, Germany, and Tokyo, Japan, after World War II, were created by the occupying allies. Inasmuch as there are no permanent occupying forces in the current situation in the Persian Gulf, the Subcommittee will seek the advice of legal scholars and individuals who participated in the Nuremberg and Tokyo proceedings on what entity would be the most appropriate organization to create such a tribunal. The witnesses will also provide counsel on contemporary definitions of war crimes and whether those definitions are adequate in the context of present circumstances. The Subcommittee will also seek to determine whether some crimes that have been reported in the press, specifically atrocities in Kuwait, should be dealt with by the established Kuwaiti legal structure.

Brooks further noted that the U.S. Constitution provides Congress with the authority to "define and punish . . . Offences against the Law of Nations." While the initial war crimes hearing will not be based on a specific legislative proposal, future legislation will be considered as Committee deliberations continue.

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