A Plurality of Responsible Actors: International Responsibility for Acts of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq
THE IRAQ WAR AND INTERNATIONAL LAW, Phil Shiner and Andrew Williams, eds., Hart Publishing, 2008
42 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2007
From mid-April 2003 to 28 June 2004, Iraq was under belligerent occupation by the United States of America and the United Kingdom acting 'as occupying powers under unified command'. For most of the 15-month occupation, Iraq was governed by the occupying powers through the vehicle of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). During the period when it was governing Iraq the CPA may have violated the laws of occupation, as laid down in the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, and human rights law, or may have contravened binding UN Security Council resolutions. This paper does not primarily examine whether and, if so, which rules of international law the CPA actually violated, but seeks to determine who may be held responsible for any transgression of international law by the CPA. Several States and the United Nations were involved in the occupation of Iraq. One State that clearly does not bear any responsibility for the CPA's actions is Iraq itself. This leaves the two occupying powers, either jointly or separately, their coalition partners and the United Nations as possible subjects of attribution of the acts of the CPA. The international responsibility for the CPA's actions in Iraq thus raises intricate questions of State responsibility and the responsibility of international organizations.
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