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ICC needs to investigate crimes against humanity committed by US, allies | Updated: 2022-04-14 06:40
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"If the International Criminal Court had any moral authority and would investigate the use of depleted-uranium weapons in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the alleged use of chemical weapons, cluster bombs, and white phosphorus in Fallujah and elsewhere," wrote an opinion piece that appeared on the Asia Times website on Monday.

In the article titled "Russia booted from UNHRC: weaponizing human rights", the authors argued that the vote on Russia's suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council last Thursday demonstrated the instrumentalization of defending human rights by the US-led NATO countries which themselves had committed a lot of rights-related sins around the world.

According to Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, at least 180,000 to 200,000 Iraqi civilians died in the war that lasted more than seven years after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, using weapons such as depleted uranium bombs and white phosphorus bombs, which led to a sharp rise in the rate of birth defects in Iraq after the war.

"Around 300 tons of depleted uranium was used during the conflict. Shockingly, around 1,000 to 2,000 tons were used in the Second Gulf War in 2003, a conflict which only lasted around three weeks," wrote Sydney Young, director of Interviews and Perspectives at the Harvard International Review.

Even after the end of the war, these radioactive weapons continued to cause harm to the Iraqi people, reported Russia's Sputnik News. There are up to 22 landfill sites where the Iraqi military equipment destroyed by the US military were located, and dust storms can exacerbate radiation diffusion.

"The kids were playing on the tanks… and they were collecting the bullets," said Souad Al-Azzawi, an associate professor of environmental engineering at the Canadian University Dubai and former director of the doctoral program in environmental engineering at the University of Baghdad.

According to Iraqi official statistics, the incidence rate of cancer in Iraq was on average 40 per 100,000 people before the Gulf War in 1991. However, this proportion had surged to an average of at least 1,600 per 100,000 people by 2005.

Besides Iraq, the NATO forces led by the US carried out 78 days of continuous bombing of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, leaving more than 2,000 innocent civilians dead, more than 6,000 injured, nearly 1 million displaced and more than 2 million people losing their source of livelihood. 15 tons of depleted uranium bombs were used in Serbia in three months, reported Russia's TASS news agency. In the 10 years since the bombing, about 30,000 people in Serbia have developed cancer, of which more than 10,000 have died.

In 2001, the largest bomb short of a nuclear weapon ever was used, the "mother of all bombs", in Afghanistan, and the stream of bombs that lasted for 20 years there has "carried depleted uranium into groundwater systems in the east and south especially, where birth defects among both humans and animals are now possibly endemic, as appears to be the case in Fallujah, Iraq," wrote the London-based RSA.

Depleted uranium is a carcinogen with chemical and radioactive toxicity. The uranium will turn into dust and be inhaled by people near the explosion site when the depleted uranium bomb hits the target. Dust may be carried elsewhere by the wind, polluting local water and agriculture.

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