International Tribunal Issues Preliminary Findings: Bush, Blanco, Nagin Committed Crimes against Humanity

International Tribunal Issues Preliminary Findings 
Bush, Blanco, Nagin Committed Crimes against Humanity 

People's Hurricane Relief Fund-Oversight Committee 
1418 North Claiborne #2 
New Orleans, LA 70116 
(504) tel. 301-0215     fax 301-0306 
Contact: Monifa Bandele (917) 407- 3018 



New Orleans- 
Between August 29, 2007 and September 2, 2007, a Tribunal of 16 
esteemed jurists from nine countries, including Algeria, Brazil, 
France, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, South Africa, Venezuela, and 
the United States, convened in New Orleans to hear testimony by 
experts and survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

After hearing nearly 30 hours of testimony by hurricane survivors and 
experts -- covering government neglect and negligence in 15 areas, 
ranging from police brutality to environmental racism, from 
misappropriation of relief to gentrification -- the jurists announced 
their preliminary findings. 

Jill Soffiyah Elijah, the Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice 
Institute at Harvard Law School and Chief Judge for the International 
Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, announced the Tribunal's 
preliminary findings "It is our view that the U.S. government has 
committed crimes against humanity particularly in relation to its 
failure to maintain functional levees that should have protected the 
City of New Orleans from flooding; ... it was the reckless disregard 
and, in some instances, negligence of the U.S. government, the state 
of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans that created the devastation 
we continue to see today." 

Elijah also announced that the Tribunal made preliminary findings that 
the federal, state and local governments are guilty of violating the 
human rights to life, dignity and recognition of personhood; the right 
to be free from racial discrimination -- especially as it pertains to 
the actions of law enforcement personnel and vigilantes; the right to 
return, resettlement and reintegration of internally displaced 
persons; the right to be free from degrading treatment and punishment; 
the right to freedom of movement; the right to adequate housing and 
education; the right to vote and participate in governance and the 
right to a fair trial; the right to liberty and security of person and 
the right to equal protection under the law. Both actions and failure 
to act by the governments had disproportionate devastating impact with 
respect to race and gender. 

The jurists announced that they would deliver their final verdict on 
December 8, 2007 -- the second anniversary of the Katrina Survivors' 
Assembly.  In the meantime, prosecutors will be submitting additional 
evidence and videotaped affidavits from an additional 25 survivors. 

The prosecution team included experienced attorneys from respected 
legal associations around the country: the ACLU of New York, National 
Economic and Social Rights Initiative, the US Human Rights Network, 
the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Center for 
Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Law and 
Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, the NAACP Legal Defense and 
Education Fund, Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, 
Washington DC Legal Defender, Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition, 
International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Legal Empowerment 
Center and the Louisiana Justice Initiative. 

The Tribunal Conveners -- representing movements for justice on four 
continents -- reminded Tribunal participants and witnesses of the 
solemnity of their task. Lybon Mabasa, a founding member with Stephen 
Biko of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, insisted, 
"We must hold these criminal governments to account in order to stop 
the world from sinking into barbarism and to make the world one where 
life is worth living." 

For samples of videotaped testimony, contact Monifa Bandele at  917