Posted March 17, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“There is one thing and one thing only, which defies all mutation: that which existed before the world, and will survive the fabric of the world itself – I mean justice.”
– Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
After listening more than once to the now-gone-viral, very disturbing, intercepted phone call between European Union high-ranking politician Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet, people around the world have waited in anticipation for their reactions. In the phone conversation Mr. Paet spoke to Ms. Ashton about the possibility that snipers in Kiev were shooting and killing both civilian protesters and members of the Ukrainian police force – backed by entities of the new coalition government – and not ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
A scenario where Ms. Ashton and Mr. Paet give a press conference to answer questions about the phone call has yet to manifest. Since the provocative phone call became public on March 5, neither Mr. Paet or Ms. Ashton have had a meeting with reporters to share views with people around the world who have become disturbed because of what was in the call.
It is not known if Catherine Ashton and Urmas Paet have decided to avoid any contact with members of the world’s media, in hopes of downplaying as much as possible the profound implications of over 100 Ukrainians and police officers shot dead by snipers in Kiev. Given the grave nature of statements made by Mr. Paet in the leaked call, in the very near future he and Ms. Ashton will be unable to avoid making public comments to reporters – and detectives and investigators working to find the shooters, if and when the investigation begins.
Urmas Paet delivered a 15-minute lecture in Reykvajik, Iceland last year at a human rights conference. It is safe to say that the name Urmas Paet has become widely known around the world now, so it was surprising that the following video has been seen only 158 times. For the benefit of people who have an interest in learning more about the man whose name will be in history books because of his phone discussion with Catherine Ashton in 2014, he gives a short lecture on the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it relates to the United Nations’ “Right to Protect” (R2P) doctrine.
Mr. Paet’s emphasis in the talk is about the potential of ICC to effectively deter international crimes such as genocide, wars of aggression, war crimes, and ending international criminals’ ability to commit major crimes with impunity. He points out that recently the UN Security Council (UNSC) held its first-ever debate on the topic of peace and justice with a focus on the ICC. Since that debate the UNSC has referred possible war crime investigations that occurred in Sudan and Libya to the ICC, and Mr. Paet suggests the importance of UNSC follow-up on those cases.
Urmas Paet asks “Can it (ICC deterrence) succeed?”
He notes the first judgment of the ICC in its newest form was against an African warlord who used children for military combat, which sent a powerful message to those who would consider war crimes and crimes against humanity – on the African continent – on every continent.
He notes that the ICC is handling cases involving major crimes alleged against officials in Afghanistan, Georgia, Columbia, Honduras, North Korea, and Nigeria. He suggests that war crimes committed in Syria need to get to the ICC for adjudication. He speaks on the often overlooked, but very harming, issue of sexual violence in wars and during periods of apparent peace in nations. Finally Mr. Paet notes that it is important that “we never lose sight of the fact that victims are real individuals”.
“We are witnessing the development of a new culture in international criminal law”.
Dr. Urmas Paet of Estonia makes a reasonable, sensible argument for expansion of the ICC for finally deterring war crimes and crimes against humanity, removing the last vestiges of committing such major crimes with virtual impunity.
One can only wonder if Estonia’s Urmas Paet has already taken actions to find and arrest those snipers he referred to in his now world-famous phone call – with the prosecutions and convictions taking place in the International Criminal Court.
(Thank you to Institute for Cultural Democracy at YouTube)