From Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal
We render you, corporations obsessed with war profiteering, accountable; answerable!– Cornel West, Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal Member
The Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal (November 10-13, 2023) will hold accountable — through testimony of witnesses — U.S. weapons manufacturers who knowingly produce and sell products which attack and kill not only combatants but non-combatants as well. These manufacturers may have committed Crimes Against Humanity as well as violated U.S. Federal criminal laws. The Tribunal will hear the evidence and render a verdict.
To reach the largest possible audience and to maximize international participation, the testimonies of the witnesses for the Tribunal will be video-recorded throughout the upcoming year as investigative teams identify witnesses and elicit their testimony. This will include testimonies from the victims of war, military and weapons analysts, lawyers, journalists, and moral philosophers and theologians.
These recorded testimonies will then be presented to the Tribunal and a world-wide audience (via the internet) during the weekend of November 11, 2023. The opening session with the Tribunal members will be live (and livestreamed) providing an opportunity to introduce each Tribunal member, review the purpose of the Tribunal, the charges at issue, and the naming of the defendants. Similarly, the final session of the weekend will be live with Tribunal members discussing the evidence and offering their opinions and recommendations.
Teams of college and university students led by their professors and lawyers will conduct many of the aforementioned video interviews around the world. We will ask corporate directors of weapons manufacturers to sit for recorded interviews. A video library of these testimonies will be assembled over the course of the next year. The video testimonies will then be reviewed by lawyers and analysts to select those that are most pertinent.
By presenting prerecorded videos of the witnesses rather than live testimonies, we will create a structured and unique presentation of the evidence to the Tribunal. Technical interruptions and other delays during the Tribunal will be minimized. Additionally, the gathering of video evidence can begin soon.
An outline of the presentation is as follows:
- Opening comments by the Tribunal.
- Session 1 – Testimonies of victims of war harmed by United States weapons.
- Session 2 – Testimonies from experts regarding the types and destructive power of weapons that have caused the harm described by the witnesses in Session 1. This will include, where possible, video of tests of these weapons showing their destructive power.
- Session 3 – Testimonies from experts on the specific manufacturers of the weapons used, the amount of weapons produced and sold to the United States and abroad, the cost of such weapons and the profits resulting.
- Session 4 – Testimonies from experts regarding lobbying practices, advertising and other methods used by weapons manufacturers to influence Congress and the public, not only in the purchase of weapons but also to influence United States warmaking policy.
- Session 5 – Testimonies from philosophers, theologians and others regarding the morality of weapons manufacturers engaged in the conduct presented and the impact of their conduct within the United States and globally.
These five sessions will be followed by discussion and recommendations by Tribunal members.