by Jerry Alatalo
he most urgent and important reform of the United Nations is making compulsory and binding all member states’ signing and ratifying the Rome Statute and coming under global jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands. Recent horrific examples of crimes of aggression which would have been prevented if such reform had become realized years ago include: the Iraq War of 2003, last summer’s Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza – “Operation Protective Edge”, and the current military campaign being carried out by Saudi Arabia against the people of Yemen.
With further consideration, had making compulsory ICC compliance by each United Nations member state been completed years ago, one could confidently assert that – since the day of such a universal acceptance until now – wars would have been close to non-existent. Even if such a reform of the United Nations doesn’t result in complete elimination of all wars and violence, simply acknowledging that the reform would prevent only one war shows clearly and logically why the reform is urgently needed.
Making predictions about the success in war prevention such a reform would result in is beneficial for making the reform argument, but the most important point to stress is that ICC/United Nations binding reform is an improvement over the current state of international law reality. Improvement here means essentially the most powerful deterrent human beings have ever devised/created to maintain Earthly peace and security, and absolutely prevent crimes of aggression, war crime, crimes against humanity (among other crimes prosecuted by the ICC) plus the immense human suffering that accompanies them.
It is truly beyond comprehension that every nation on Earth has not come to such an agreement. Presently, approximately one-hundred and twenty-three (123) nations have joined the ICC by signing and ratifying the Rome Statute, thirty-one (31) countries have signed but not yet ratified, forty-one have neither signed or complied, and three (3) – Israel, Sudan and the United States – have informed the United Nations Secretary General they have no legal obligations and do not intend to become part of the Rome Statute Treaty.
Make the United States’ signing on to the ICC an issue for debate as the 2016 Presidential race goes forward and intensifies, because bringing this extremely important issue to the public’s attention can make all the difference resulting in America’s joining. Beyond that, making universal agreement by every nation to join the International Criminal Court an issue in the campaign for President is precisely and directly consequential as related to foreign policy and war and peace on Earth.
Think about the millions of innocent men, women and children now suffering the horrific results of the Iraq War initiated by George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney and others, and how – if the U.S. had joined the ICC before 2003 placing those men and others at real risk of prosecution for war crimes – the Iraq War would most likely not have happened. A million people would now be alive. Millions of people in the Middle East and beyond would now be living in peace, instead of fleeing for their lives and perishing in the Mediterranean Sea, facing extreme life-threatening conditions as refugees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, or killed by terrorist groups on rampages of destruction fueled by consequences from an illegal, devastating, unnecessary conflict.
For more information/history of the ICC, visit “Coalition for the ICC” at: www.coalitionfortheicc.org
If every nation on Earth had agreed a long time ago to a global infrastructure for enforcing international law in the form of the ICC, The Elders could be spending time with their adult sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren instead of making peace-seeking message videos like this one:
(Thank you to The Elders at YouTube)
Kofi Annan was the United Nations Secretary General from 1997-2006, and was a driving force behind establishing the International Criminal Court. He strongly opposed the Iraq War of 2003 because it began without the approval of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and states in the following interview that such military actions “have not been encouraging”. Speaking about nations which take military action without UNSC approval – contravening UN rules – he points out that if one country “gets away with it” it sets a precedent, giving rise to other nations using military force in the same illegal manner.
Kofi Annan is one of The Elders, a group of senior world leaders founded a few years ago including the late Nelson Mandela, former President of Finland / Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Martti Ahtisaari, first woman Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Grundtland, former U.S. President / Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jimmy Carter, first woman President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among other senior leaders.
Visit The Elders website at: www.theelders.org
During his recent interview with host Oksana Boyko on RT’s “Worlds Apart”, Ms. Boyko asked Kofi Annan about “name-calling” instances during international negotiations, and if he thought: “Isn’t this (kind of) diplomacy extinct?” Personally, this question conjured up images of wise grandparents exhibiting patience when near children acting like kids do – immaturely, harmfully, and without concern for consequences. One imagines what goes through the minds of men and women leaders in The Elders organization, after lifetimes of dealing with difficult people, difficult issues, and the related stresses of trying to solve major world problems like war, poverty and disease.
Mr. Annan points out that, because certain major powers have not signed on to the ICC’s jurisdiction, in instances they simultaneously refer weak, small nations to the ICC for crimes while absolving themselves from accountability for their actions. In Kofi Annan’s view – simple to understand for any logical man or woman – this situation prevents fairness across the board from emerging,, and therefore explains his and many others’ good efforts around the world for universal ICC-United Nations membership.
Kofi Annan said in the interview: “One life lost is too many”.
Humanity in 2015 has a real peace solution available. Mankind can act wisely by choosing it to prevent more destructive wars, violence, and needless suffering.
(Thank you to RT at YouTube)