Letter to the Editor of The New York Times re: the article "U.S. Lists Iraqis to Punish, or to Work With"

To the Editor:

Re "U.S. Lists Iraqis to Punish, or to Work With" (front page, Feb. 26):

President Bush has a unique opportunity to uphold the rule of law. If the Security Council fails to issue an unambiguous mandate to use force, the president should respect the will of the world community.

We need a new military objective: upholding the Nuremberg principle that never again will crimes against humanity go unpunished. Our goal should be to bring to trial only top Iraqi leaders. Those who become accessories by blocking arrests will suffer "serious consequences."

No time limits apply to crimes against humanity, and existing courts can be modified to offer fair trials. Judges for the new International Criminal Court are being inaugurated on March 11. Isn't law better than war?

Benjamin B. Ferencz
New Rochelle, N.Y., Feb. 26, 2003
The writer was a prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials.