2018: The Year Of Peace.

A Plea to Reinforce Peace: Calling for Activation of the International Criminal Court’s Exercise of Jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression

(Cross-posted from Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

By Jutta F. Bertram-Nothnagel September 2017

The long-awaited decision by the Assembly of States Parties to enable the International Criminal Court’s exercise of jurisdiction over the crime of aggression is urgently needed and cannot happen soon enough. As spelled out with more detail by article 8 of the Rome Statute, the crime is committed by a person in a position effectively to control or to direct the political or military action of a State and requires the planning, preparation, initiation or execution of a State act of aggression which, by its gravity, character and scale, amounts to a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations: The armed force of a State is unleashed upon another State with no justification in sight. Not at all in the defense of a country, not at all in the defense of a people, but in the service of a crime that cries to heaven, soldiers are ordered to shoot and bomb a made-up ‘enemy’. Without good cause under the law of nations, they are misused as tools of the crime and turned into its cannon fodder.

Heroism and comradeship are exploited for hypocrisy and the expansion of power. The victim State is trampled, its territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence smashed into conceptual smithereens. Lives are ruined and families decimated. The human right to peace must not be recognized! Freedom is the freedom of the aggressor. Nightmares keep morphing into relentless reality, – See Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), art. 15 bis (3), 15 ter (3); see also Resolution RC/Res.6 of the Review Conference of the Rome Statute, pp 6. “Nightmares keep morphing into relentless reality, – combatants returning in wheel chairs or body bags, sailors sunk in the oceans, pilots ripped from the skies, and civilians sacrificed and euphemized as ‘collateral damage’ ”.  Instead of laughter from fields and gardens, last prayers from ditches and rubble. All ‘normal’ war, – no war crimes necessary!

The degradation and slaughter of body and soul violate human dignity to its very core. The urgency for activating the Court’s authority over the crime can scarcely be exaggerated. Everything possible must be done, and must be done now, to prevent crimes of aggression. First, the world is faced with catastrophic threats to its environmental, social and economic sustainability, requiring global cooperation to address them. Each armed conflict disrupts such cooperation. Second, we are sitting on the most horrific powder keg of all times. Since the dawn of the age of nuclear weapons, the numbers of civilian deaths argued to be proportionate to military objectives and thus acceptable ‘collateral damage’ has crept up into the unfathomable. We are talking crimes against humanity that make the devil blush.

Continue reading “2018: The Year Of Peace.”

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Ending War Now: A Proposal.

By Jerry Alatalo

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“Not one statesman in a position of responsibility has dared to pursue the only course that hold out any promise of peace, the courage of supra-national security, since for a statesman to follow such a course would be tantamount to political suicide.”

– ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955) Last written words, April 1955; quoted by Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden in “Einstein on Peace.”

iven the massive shift of world collective consciousness emergent after, among other astonishing developments, U.S. President Donald Trump’s arguably intended-to-provoke and dangerous Jerusalem announcement – and especially considering the dramatic response by member states at the United Nations (UN), now would seem the perfect storm, confluence-of-events time for the world’s genuine peacemakers to conduct an energetic push towards long-overdue reform of the UN, and making wars of aggression punishable. Or, in plain-speak, now is the opportune time to end forever in all its dimensions impunity for war criminals.

In the United States, as an example, the Constitution allows for adjustments by the people as time goes by and societal conditions evolve, and the supreme U.S. law-of-the-land document has endured the amendment process several times when deemed necessary. Similarly and invariably, the world and humanity evolves and conditions change to the point of requiring necessary actions correspondent to newly developed circumstances.

Let us call the proposed United Nations reform to the UN Charter a similar legally binding amendment, or treaty, or instrument, but – no matter the name and/or process necessary for bringing about truly effective legal enforcement on a global level – the vital point of such an initiative is making wars of aggression an action individuals (historically, in most instances the wealthiest and most powerful) will certainly think long, hard and twice about, because they are (now) subject to prosecution and punishment. This describes the basic foundation of deterrence, the legal term fully understood by any man or woman with a reasoning, functioning brain.

The reform we propose is as simple as simple gets, yet at the same time tremendously consequential in its potential:

Make it mandatory for each United Nations member state to sign the Rome Statute and agree to come under the legal jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, or face their nation’s expulsion from the United Nations – period. Perhaps it is beneficial at this point to look at the history-changing example of what the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and its hundreds of global support groups accomplished:

  • An unprecedented, binding United Nations treaty passed in July 2017 making nuclear weapons illegal
  • The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee’s deciding upon and rightly honoring ICAN as the recipients of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

May we suggest that a similar effort to end impunity for war criminals, embodied in and anchored on the simple United Nations reform just described, led by a new globally supported organization with the name “International Campaign to Abolish War”, would become the next recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for year 2018? It’s safe to say every human being on Earth would gladly welcome elimination of both nuclear weapons and wars of aggression from the Earth.

Most men and women who pass this way and read these words feel the extraordinary nature of current events in aspects equally historical, international, and spiritual, and especially in the sense of intensifying inevitableness. Both ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn and 85-year old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack, Setsuko Thurlow, spoke passionately to the world after accepting the organization’s richly-deserved 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

NORWAY – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) leaders Setsuko Thurlow (center) and Beatrice Fihn (right) accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

In her acceptance speech on behalf of ICAN, Ms. Fihn clearly and powerfully articulated that widespread, growing sense of inevitableness, when she said:

“Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us? One of these things will happen.”

ICAN’s name suggests the sole goal of the organization is abolition of nuclear weapons from the face of this Earth. But it could reasonably be asserted: given the likelihood any escalation of violence today approaching the destructive levels of World War I and World War II would involve the use of nuclear weapons – so in the ultimate, classic logic sense ICAN’s vision is all about total abolition of both nuclear weapons and war.

Many are comparing the international situation today as more dangerous than that which existed during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and it’s likely somewhere in the 90-99% range that men and women who come to read these words will agree. One senses that humanity is closing in fast on the time of its greatest moral decision, or has even already arrived at its most crucial collective rendezvous with destiny in recorded history. The decision upon which civilization now will depend for their very lives to continue, and begin again for those to come in future generations, is whether to take right action or not.

Creating a workable plan to effectively abolish war forever is clearly taking right action.

There is only one human family. Arguably, an overwhelming majority of people the world over wish to carry out their lives in human-created conditions guaranteeing their opportunities for experiencing some significant level of love, peace and harmony. War is undeniably in the way, and represents the absolute obstacle to achieving humanity’s highest vision. There is only one simple, yet immeasurably profound and unavoidable question. Why not take right action toward ending war; taking into account the current dangerous, worrying state of world affairs and international relations, shouldn’t such necessary action be starting now?

Former Qatar Prime Minister Drops Global Bombshell.

By Jerry Alatalo

he former Prime Minister of Qatar’s recent interview has gone viral after his revelations about U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others’ state-sponsorship of mercenaries, engaging in the (March 2011-present) military overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Analysts James Jatras and Michael Lane engaged in an absolutely astounding back-and-forth on the explosive revelations by the former high-level Qatar official. Ex-Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim spoke openly during a recent interview, where he described the covert attempt to overthrow the Syrian leader as akin to “hunting prey”.

During the following debate on Press TV, James Jatras conveyed his prediction that no U.S. media outlet will be reporting on the Qatari leader’s public statements clearly indicating a scandal of epic, historic proportion. It remains to become seen if Mr. Jatras’ prediction is going to prove true – that no Western media will touch the report – despite the story going viral across independent media via the world’s internet.

Now the question becomes:

Will anyone become held accountable at the International Criminal Court?

Syria’s Bashar Jaafari On International Terrorism.

H.E.Dr. Bashar Jaafari, United Nations representative from Syria – Statement at the Sixth Committee Meeting to discuss Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism –  October 2, 2017

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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In the beginning I would like to congratulate you and wish you all the success in your duties.

I emphasize that we are fully ready to cooperate and work with you in a manner that guarantees the principle, respect for the principle, of equality between member states and to achieve the purposes of our organization.

I would like to begin by affirming that we support the initiatives of the Secretary-General and his efforts together with his under-secretaries in order to enhance the role of the organization in counter-terrorism.

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. I would like to deliver the following observations in my national capacity, and allow me in this context to present part of the bitter experience lived by my country and my people throughout the last seven years, as a result of an irresponsible and serious political decision taken by some member state governments in order to dedicate their energies and resources to violent extremist ideologies, to support armed terrorist groups in my country Syria.

Mr. Chairman, It has become a given fact that Security Council resolutions on counter-terrorism, some of which were issued under Chapter Seven and they have reached a round 16 … decision resolutions … until now they do not find the path towards implementation.

Similarly, the UN global counter-terrorism strategy will not become reality on the ground, nor can member states agree on a standard legal definition of terrorism which has been a Syrian request since 1986, nor can member states succeed in negotiating a binding comprehensive and global Convention on counter-terrorism.

I declare, dear colleagues, none of this can succeed so long as the head of the snake remains in place, the masterminds remained in … remain in place. This head snake is represented by policies of member states in this organization, states that enjoy the power and influence and wealth. But they do not enjoy the values of good governance that deter it from abusing its capacities in imposing hegemony and waging war, and arming terrorists in any country that disagrees with these governments.

These governments still view armed terrorist groups and foreign terrorist fighters as an economic, military and political weapon that can be used to overthrow legitimate governments and to destroy state economies and capacities, and to kill their citizens and displace them as refugees and displaced persons, and to send them to death at sea – then she’s shedding tears on their lives.

And in speaking of foreign terrorist fighters allow me to present an explanation, a simplified explanation, of their recruitment process. They were citizens of more than 100 nationalities around the world, as affirmed by the report of the analytical support and sanctions monitoring team, issued as document S-2015-358. They were normal people who were influenced and misled by schools and religious centers funded by billions of oil and gas money in order to promote extremist terrorist Wahhabi ideology in different parts of the world under the cover of religious work, however with the Takfiri-Daesh (ISIL) angle.

Naturally, many state governments of member states in this organization, and particularly in the European Union, placed these individuals under surveillance being dangerous individuals who threaten society’s security, until narrow political interests have converged with the corruption of some of these states’ governments. These individuals were exploited and sent to fight in Syria and Iraq in order to, on one hand, spread terrorism, and second to rid Western societies of their presence.

As such foreign terrorist fighters began, as the UN calls them, began to flow into Syria through a well-planned process which involved governments and intelligence agencies. Tens of thousands of passports were issued and tourists visa entries into countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq, air flights and itineraries were devised by government intelligence agencies in order to make them untraceable. Some terrorists were even forced to travel through more than five international airports or airports on the same day.

This is documented in Interpol documents and in the UN counter-terrorism entities. As for weapons and training camps … and operations rooms were ready in the countries surrounding Syria and Iraq waiting to receive these terrorists, whom have been labeled as the moderate armed opposition. This is of course an opposition that has been genetically modified, because they are foreigners, but we are requested to call them moderate armed Syrian opposition.

The involved governments and their intelligence officers supervised this process, who have secured their arrival in Syria, then some of these governments were involved in illegal trade in oil and Syrian artifacts from Iraq and Syria. On top of all of this, some member state governments ignored what is happening on the internet and on social networks by way of spreading extremist ideology and calls to hate and bear arms, and to fund and donate to terrorists in Syria and Iraq by calling them Mujahideen.

And so, increased arrival of terrorist fighters have been facilitated to Syria and Iraq, until today encrypted messages are used to wage terrorist attacks everywhere on Earth. Mr. Chairman, What I have presented now is only an example of our suffering through seven years of terrorism, but it proves a fact that influential segments of the international community still lacks the political will to combat terrorism.

What we demand, ladies and gentlemen, is real political will to combat terrorism and to hold its supporters and financiers accountable. More precisely, we want to cut off the snake’s head, and not only to chase after its tail.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Thank you to The Syria Mission to the United Nations at YouTube)