“Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime,” the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.
Ferencz said that after Nuremberg the international community realized that every war results in violations by both sides, meaning the primary objective should be preventing any war from occurring in the first place.
He said the atrocities of the Iraq war–from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of dozens of civilians by U.S. forces in Haditha to the high number of civilian casualties caused by insurgent car bombs–were highly predictable at the start of the war.
“Every war will lead to attacks on civilians,” he said. “Crimes against humanity, destruction beyond the needs of military necessity, rape of civilians, plunder–that always happens in wartime. So my answer personally, after working for 60 years on this problem and [as someone] who hates to see all these young people get killed no matter what their nationality, is that you’ve got to stop using warfare as a means of settling your disputes.”