Ending Impunity Stops World’s War Criminals.

By Jerry Alatalo

World Map1Alphabet Benjamin Ferencz is now age 96 and the only living, surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials conducted after World War II came to an end. Since that time, 1946, Mr. Ferencz has been on a mission to create the international law infrastructure necessary to bring about effective deterrence to stop person(s) or group(s) considering conducting war crimes, crimes against humanity, wars of aggression, or genocide.

Through history up until today, too often the world’s most powerful have been able to commit, with no accountability or negative consequences – with impunity – atrocities through initiation of illegal wars: 1) carried out without being attacked, without any justification for the reason of self-defense, and 2) without getting United Nations Security Council approval. Harvard Law School graduate Ben Ferencz has worked hard all of his life to correct/fix that undesirable, often destructive situation in the world.

His idea for global jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, where all nations unanimously agree to join the court and abide by its laws, is perfectly reasonable, simple to understand, yet the highest vision hasn’t been reached; some nations, including the largest, remain outside of International Criminal Court jurisdiction.

While Mr. Ferencz has worked for decades to create the global legal institution, become well-known in legal, academic, peace activist, non-governmental organization circles etc. and continued on with focused efforts, he admits being 96 years old doesn’t leave a lot of time for him to see his vision accomplished. It would be unfortunate if he wasn’t able to see it occur before leaving this Earth, because such an outstanding proposal should have, rightly, come into existence a long time ago.

Of the remaining candidates for President of the United States – Clinton, Johnson, Stein and Trump – the platform of Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein calling for U.S. foreign policy based on international law and human rights seems most closely aligned with Mr. Ferencz.

People familiar with Benjamin Ferencz know his phrase “law not war”. He’s known for his encouraging words at the end of talks (especially to university students) to those puzzled on persisting delays in establishing such a global legal architecture, and the great promise of extensively reducing instances of illegal wars: “Never give up.. never give up.. never give up.”

For a truly good man like Benjamin Ferencz, one wishes he’ll see his life-long efforts bear fruit and that his dream of peace on Earth comes true. Thank you, Benjamin Ferencz.

(Thank you to Nuremberg Legacy Channel at YouTube)

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The Elders Propose United Nations Evolution.

Originally posted / for more information visit:  www.theelders.org

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STRENGTHENING THE UNITED NATIONS

Statement by The Elders, 7 February 2015

peace pipe 222The United Nations was founded in 1945 “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

Yet 70 years later far too many people in this world – in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in the Middle East, to name but a few places – are beginning the year 2015 in grief and suffering, caused by conflict and deliberate violence. Seventeen murders in Paris may seem little by comparison, but they too have horrified us all, because they were so clearly targeted at freedom of expression, and at the Jewish community. Millions of Muslims around the world sincerely deplore these murders, yet are also shocked to see their faith repeatedly caricatured.

Meanwhile the older threat of confrontation between great powers is also stirring again, notably in East Asia, and in Eastern Europe.

In short, human beings are far from being safe from the scourge of war, despite the UN’s best efforts.

Yet the world’s peoples yearn for a fairer, more peaceful world, where new generations can grow up in confidence. They do not want to see the UN wither into irrelevance, as the League of Nations did in the 1930s.

What needs to change?

All institutions must adapt to cope with new circumstances – and today’s circumstances are very different from those of 1945.

There have been profound shifts of power and wealth in the world since then. Of the 193 member states of the United Nations today, nearly three quarters were not members in 1945 – in a few cases because they had been on the wrong side in the second world war, but in the great majority of cases because at that time they did not yet exist as independent states.

Yet the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, acting on behalf of all the member states, is still dominated by the same five permanent members that were designated all those years ago, being the five great powers that had just won the war.

The governments of those five powers have become so used to their exalted status, which is protected by their ability to veto any change in the Charter, that they think of it almost as their natural right, sometimes forgetting that it is above all a responsibility. They assume that the world will continue to respect their authority, and fail to notice that, year by year, that authority is eroding.

The peoples of the global South, especially, do not see themselves adequately represented in the Council. They are therefore more and more inclined to question its authority, and the legitimacy of its decisions. We ignore this threat at our peril.

Recalling the wise guidance of our founder, Nelson Mandela, we, The Elders, call on governments to listen to their peoples, and on peoples to insist that their governments make more farsighted decisions.

We call on both the existing permanent members of the Security Council and the rest of the membership of the Organization to accept the urgency of strengthening the United Nations, and therefore accept also the compromises – sometimes painful ones – that will be needed to make it possible.

Our proposals:

  1. A New Category of Members

In principle, the existing permanent members claim to be ready to welcome new ones. But their sincerity has not been tested because the rest of the membership cannot agree on essential points: which countries, and how many, should be new permanent members, and should they, like the existing ones, be given a veto over the Council’s substantive divisions? In the view of many, the use or abuse of the veto is responsible for some of the Council’s most conspicuous failures, when it does not intervene in time, or with sufficient force, to protect the victims of genocide and other comparable crimes. Those states are understandably reluctant to give yet more powers the right of veto.

We therefore propose a compromise. Let the states which aspire to permanent membership accept instead, at least for the time being, election to a new category of membership, which would give them a much longer term than the two years served by the non-permanent members, and to which they could be immediately re-elected when that term expires. This would enable them to become de facto permanent members, but in a more democratic way, since it would depend on them continuing to enjoy the confidence of other member states. By making the Council more democratic, this change would increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the world, thereby enhancing its authority and so also making it more effective.

This compromise will not be easy for states which aspire to full permanent membership to accept. But we urge them, for the greater good, to set aside for now their larger ambition. If they do, we believe that other member states will be willing to accord them this special status, whereas their chances of achieving full permanent membership in the near or even medium term still seem remote. Half a loaf (and we submit that in its practical effects it would be much more than half) is proverbially better than no bread. And “no bread” in this instance means continuing the present stalemate, at an unacceptable cost to humanity and to innocent human lives.

Even so, such a change requires amendment of the Charter, which requires a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly and then ratification by two thirds of all UN members, including all five permanent members of the Security Council. This can be done. (The Charter has been amended three times – in the 1960s and early 70s – to enlarge the Security Council from 11 to 15 members, to make related changes to its voting arrangements, and to enlarge the Economic and Social Council.)

But it will inevitably take some time: all the more reason for starting the process without further delay. Meanwhile, we propose three other changes, which do not require Charter amendment. We believe all three are urgently needed, to make the UN more effective, more authoritative and more efficient in its work of maintaining the peace. They should not wait until this first one has been completed.

  1. A Pledge by the Existing Permanent Members

As already noted, on too many issues the Security Council is deadlocked by the failure of its permanent members to agree on a course of action, with the result that millions of people are left to suffer while great powers score debating points off each other. As the UN’s founders understood, without the united support of the permanent members, both material and moral, the Council cannot act.

None of us has forgotten the Holocaust, Rwanda, Srebenica, Saddam Hussein’s campaign against Iraq’s Kurds, or the killing fields of Cambodia. No part of the world has been spared these horrors. So the political will must be summoned to prevent, or at least limit, their repetition.

We therefore call on the five existing permanent members to pledge themselves to greater and more persistent efforts to find common ground, especially in crises where populations are being subjected to, or threatened with, genocide or other atrocity crimes.

States making this pledge will undertake not to use, or threaten to use, their veto in such crises without explaining, clearly and in public, what alternative course of action they propose, as a credible and efficient way to protect the populations in question. This explanation must refer to international peace and security, and not to the national interest of the state casting the veto, since any state casting a veto simply to protect its national interests is abusing the privilege of permanent membership.

And when one or more permanent members do feel obliged to cast a veto, and do provide such an explanation, the others must undertake not to abandon the search for common ground but to make even greater efforts to agree on an effective course of action.

  1. A Voice for Those Affected

When they can agree, the permanent members too often deliberate behind closed doors, without listening to the voices of those most directly affected by their decisions, and present their elected colleagues with ready-made resolutions leaving little room for debate. To remedy this, we call on all members of the Security Council to make more regular and systematic use of the “Arria formula” (under which, in the last two decades, Security Council members have had meetings with a wide variety of civil society organizations), to give groups representing people in zones of conflict the greatest possible opportunity to inform and influence Council decisions.

At present, meetings under the Arria formula are too often attended only by junior officials, whose reports can easily be ignored. In future, we call on the heads of the delegations of all countries serving on the Security Council, including the permanent members, to attend all meetings held under this formula in person. Members of the Council must use such meetings to ensure that their decisions are informed by full and clear knowledge of the conditions in the country or region concerned, and of the views of those most directly affected.

  1. A New Process for Choosing the Secretary-General

At the United Nations, it is the Secretary-General who has to uphold the interests and aspirations of all the world’s peoples. This role requires leadership of the highest calibre. Yet for 70 years the holder of this post has effectively been chosen by the five permanent members of the Security Council, who negotiate among themselves in almost total secrecy. The rest of the world is told little about the process by which candidates are identified, let alone the criteria by which they are judged. This barely follows the letter, and certainly not the spirit, of the UN Charter, which says the Secretary-General should be appointed by the General Assembly, and only on the recommendation of the Security Council.

To remedy this, we call on the General Assembly to insist that the Security Council recommend more than one candidate for appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, after a timely, equitable and transparent search for the best qualified candidates, irrespective of gender or regional origin.

We suggest that the next Secretary-General be appointed for a single, non-renewable term of seven years, in order to strengthen his or her independence and avoid the perception that he or she is guided by electoral concerns. She or he must not be under pressure, either before or after being appointed, to give posts in the Secretariat to people of any particular nationality in return for political support, since this is clearly contrary to the spirit of the Charter. This new process should be adopted without delay, so that the United Nations can make full use of it to choose the best person to assume the post in January 2017.

No time to lose.

The Elders believe that, for the UN to recover its authority and effectiveness in maintaining world peace and security, these changes are an essential starting point. We also believe that they are achievable, with a minimum of good will and effort on the part of member states. We therefore call on the citizens of all states to press their governments to take the necessary action. We, for our part, will do all we can to persuade them.

Discussions on these priority changes must start immediately, inside and outside governments. There is no time to lose.

Already there is a groundswell of pressure for change. By the time we mark the UN’s 70th anniversary later this year, we hope to see this groundswell build into an unstoppable wave, drawing strength from all around the world.

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A Global Police Force: Possible, Beneficial For World Peace?

by Jerry Alatalo

“Not one statesman in a position of responsibility has dared to pursue the only course that holds 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.”

Last written words of ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955) – German born, Swiss-American scientist

aaa-41Alphabet The scientist and intellectual known world-wide left this Earth and humanity with the message of an international military/security organization being the only course to peace. After the sixty years since the passing of Albert Einstein, has the time arrived for humanity to seriously consider his thoughtful suggestion?

Whether the peace development concept Einstein offered in his last days gets called a military or law enforcement/police force is a small consideration in contrast to the very significant positive benefits of establishing such a force. Nearly every man or woman having an awareness of Albert Einstein’s contributions to the human race would agree that he was the kind of person who only spoke after careful and scientifically based thinking.

In other words, Einstein was one of those men and women who, when they talked or wrote, moved people to understand the ideas presented were worth making the effort to grasp. In this instance, where he shared his views on options for establishing peace on Earth, was Einstein on to something whose time now in 2015 has finally arrived?

Some may disagree and assess that Einstein’s proposal is either impracticable or impossible in a world more complex than the days when he walked the Earth, but Einstein was correct and his idea deserves becoming pursued, analyzed, planned and implemented into reality. As one who considers himself “science-challenged”, let’s explore Einstein’s theory of peace creation some in a non-scientific manner.

Perhaps comparing today’s global security landscape, with its hundreds of separate national military organizations, to Einstein’s supra-national, single military/police force is a good starting point. Imagine a city with a 100,000 population and its police force of 200 men and women. The department has been organized to maximize communication and teamwork and efficiency for carrying out its purpose of serving, protecting and preventing harm and destruction to the city’s residents in their persons, homes and business.

Now, if one considers the Earth as one city for all the world’s citizens, hundreds of separate national military organizations results in the opposite of the 100,000 population city’s police department as related to communication, teamwork and efficiency. Because of the current international military state of affairs where there still exists widely held “us against them” perception, reaching the potential security success Einstein envisioned – peace – remains beyond reach.

The process of developing a supra-national security force begins when people around the world start a serious dialogue weighing the pros, cons, constraints and possibilities of bringing the concept to reality. Statistics related to every nation’s spending, staffing and manufacturing in the military arena are easily accessible and when compiled offers a universal viewpoint from which to start the planning stage.

In the planning stage, all the various aspects of the possible global organization become studied, analyzed and compared, then detailed organization, equipment and personnel structure models become created for consideration and agreement before going on to further development discussions along the process. Among other considerations are answering the questions of how many men and women each nation will send to serve, what an ideal arrangement of nationalities at each base/department around the world will look like, the best size force for each base of operations in the various regions, emphasis on higher staffing levels in regions with a history or potential of violence, the amount and variety of available equipment for each base, etc.

The greatest beneficial, transformative result of establishing a global, cooperative police/military force is elimination of an “us against them” perception, and the building of a “no enemies, only criminals” reality. Terrorist groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda etc. atrocities, along with instances of state-sponsored terror, will be correctly perceived as criminal actions, the same as fraud, robbery, assault and battery, etc., but at the highest scale of harm.

Those men and women serving around the Earth in a world police force will become seen by all as the best of the best, noble and protectors of one human family. Little by little, humanity will understand that there are those few who are willing to harm others and then there are the majority who wish to live and let live in peace. Just as traditional law enforcement agencies, the world police force will have a branch dealing with international financial or white-collar crimes, consisting of accountants and attorneys whose work is about preventing non-physical harm. A multinational branch for dealing with cyber-crime is also a part of the organization.

When a world police force replaces the current military configuration of hundreds of separate national groups of military personnel, equipment and weaponry, governments will become able to drastically reduce their expenditures on the military. In America, this means the multiyear trillion-dollar expenditure recently proposed for “upgrading” the U.S. nuclear arsenal becomes unnecessary. The annual spending on the military in the United States alone, reportedly over $700 billion, can become greatly reduced, and the funds saved can then be directed toward projects which improve citizens’ health and well-being.

With realization of an international military/police agency comes the need to expand capacity of international judicial systems, and that means the International Criminal Court. That legal institution will need more attorneys, judges and personnel to handle an international inflow of cases, which as time moves on will decrease as a result of new thinking on Earth.

One more benefit of pursuing and acting upon Einstein’s proposal is creation of one central location where the world’s people are able to find truth. No longer will people obtain their information about world events from biased, propagandistic, erroneous or intentionally deceptive sources, but will turn directly to the International Criminal Court records of legal actions, or to spokespersons for the world police force in regions around the world. Instances of violence based on wrong perceptions will steadily decrease as more people learn what’s really occurring, thereby diminishing misguided, unfortunate criminal actions.

All nations, after careful study and consideration of such a beneficial law enforcement organization becomes completed, will need to agree on working to plan and create it, while those nations who oppose such an international system will become forced to present a rational, detailed argument for their opposition. Those opposed will have to explain why continuance of the world’s military status-quo is better for humanity than Einstein’s supra-national security.

Albert Einstein was 76 years old and very close to death when he made his profound suggestion. A person who realizes their time on Earth has become short has a great tendency to get very serious in their communications, especially on grave matters of war and peace. Read Mr. Einstein’s last written words again and know that he was very serious.

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The following link takes you to the United Nations official website and a video of its recent 7,373rd meeting of the Security Council. Much of the 90-minute meeting (in English, others language options available) focuses on regions currently experiencing wars and violence on Earth. For those who decide to hear what members of the Security Council have to say, please keep in mind the peace suggestion of one man who went by the name of Albert Einstein.

http://webtv.un.org/watch/efficiency-and-transparency-of-the-security-council-security-council-7373rd-meeting/4020653544001

Cristina Kirchner: “World Needs Real, Democratic Multilateralism.”

 

Posted on October 7, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

393-1Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner addressed the United Nations 69th General Assembly. She is the widow of Nestor Kirchner, who served as Argentine president before her. They both appeared in the 2009 documentary by Oliver Stone titled “South of the Border”, where Nestor Kirchner told Oliver Stone about a conversation he had with then-US President George W. Bush. George W. Bush told Nestor Kirchner that “the best way to revitalize the economy is war”.

So, is it any wonder that Cristina Kirchner of Argentina is outspoken? Her remarks at the United Nations Security Council chaired by US President Barack Obama as well as her General Assembly address have been under-reported or ignored by western corporate news outlets. What follows are some of her General Assembly remarks then a video of her address in its entirety.

“… an unresolved task for us. I have attended these assemblies since 2003, first as Senator, then as of 2007 as President, and we have always kept claiming the reformation of the Security Council organisms as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We talked from the experience of what had happened to the Argentine Republic, my country. Today I dare within this international and global context, my country the Argentine Republic is a triple leading case in the financial, economic field, in terrorism and security field, and also in territorial integrity”.

“In the first case, in what refers to an economic and financial crisis that broke up for the rest of the world, as of the year 2008, and that still persists and now begins to threaten the emerging economies who have upheld during the last decade the largest economic growth. I refer to that crisis, that of year 2008, my country went through it in the year 2001, when the most important default on sovereign debt ever remembered took place at that time, the Argentine Republic had achieved with the consort of the multilateral organisms”.

“Because when you owe, gentlemen, 160% of the GDP, the one to blame is not only the debtor, but also the creditors. And since the dictatorship of March 24, 1976 going through the neoliberal stage, in which Argentina was presented as a beloved student at the IMF assemblies, it finally accumulated an unprecedented debt that caused to implode it, not only in economic terms, but also in political terms. We had five presidents in a single week. By then, nobody was responsible for what had happened in Argentina”.

“Our country had to get through it as it could and in the year 2003 a president that had reached to government with 22% of the votes, few months after taking office, he attended this assembly and remarked that it was necessary to create a model of growth and development for the country so the nation could afford its debts. Because he held in a more-than-interesting metaphor that dead people don’t pay their debts and that it is necessary that countries are able to live”.

“That man who took office with 22% of the votes, 25% unemployment, with 54% of poverty, 27% indigence; without education, without health, without security. After some time with a model of development and growth, we could not only generate millions of work positions, millions included in the social security system, retired and pensioners, we were also able to generate an increase of six points of the gross product, dedicated to education, to allocate enormous sums of money to infrastructure, roads, schools, nuclear power stations, hydroelectric plants, water networks, gas and electricity networks that today go across the whole country, in a process of social inclusion without precedents which made us reduce the poverty and the indigence to a single digit”.

“… that today the very IMF recognizes that the economic growth carried out by Argentina between the year 2004 and 2011 is the third in growth on the global level, only overcome by Bulgaria and China. And we have achieved all this also by affording the debt which others generated. Because it is also good to point it out, that our governments were neither those declaring the default nor the ones to go into debt. We simply took charge as it should be and we paid since the year 2003 up to now more than 190 billion dollars – I repeat the figure – more than 190 billion dollars”.

“Because we restructured the defaulted debt with the 92.4% of the creditors in two debt swaps, one of them carried out by President (Nestor) Kirchner in 2005, and the other by this very president in the year 2010. We made regular payments to the 92.4% of creditors since then, but we also paid the full debt with the IMF. Thus, a few months ago we concluded the negotiation of a debt dating from the year 1956 with the Paris Club. For you to have an idea, this very president was three years old when that debt was started, and the Economy Minister of my country who discussed the restructuring and renegotiation of that debt with the Paris Club was not even born in the year 1956”.

“However, we reached an agreement with 19 economy ministers from the European Union to finally restructure the debt, and we have already paid the first stage – 642 million dollars. Due to the previous government’s actions that ended up being sued before the World Bank Tribunal, when we decided to recover the control of our energy resources and we took over 51% of the actions of the oil company, we also restructured that debt and we reached an agreement. We had made all this with our own resources, without access to the capital market, because Argentina, as a result of the default of 2001, had forbidden the access to the capital market”.

“We started the social inclusion process from the total and absolute bankruptcy in the middle of default. We were able to overcome the default, we were able to include the Argentines, we achieved social growth with inclusion, we were able to get out of debt and now, besides, we have one of the lowest debt ratios in the world”.

“What I want to talk about now is the appearance of the so-called “Vulture Funds”. The Vulture Fund is not a term coined by any South American Populist leader, neither a term coined by any African ruler, despite the fact that the African countries have also been the victims of vulture funds”. An American judge recently ruled in favor of a vulture fund controlled by billionaire Paul Singer at an effective interest rate of 1,608% in five years and in US dollars. Ms. Kirchner continued, “Please tell me if there is any company or an enterprise or some investor that can obtain a profit in dollars of more than 1,600% in only five years”.

“Vulture funds are now blocking the payment to those who trusted in Argentina, to that 92.4%. That is why I celebrate that this assembly has faced this problem and hope that this year or next before the 2015 General Assembly, we build regulations for the restructure of sovereign debts, so no other country should undergo what Argentina is going through now. Vulture funds in our country are triggering rumors, defamations, and slanders, both to persons and to the economy and finance, acting as true destabilizers of the economy, a sort of economic and financial terrorism”.

“Because terrorists are not only those who go planting bombs, there are economic terrorists; those who destabilize the economy of a country and produce poverty, hunger, and misery from the sin of speculation. It is something we should say very clearly. That is why we are demanding so strongly so this multilateral agreement is born soonest. Not only for Argentina, but for the rest of the world, because we also believe that an economic and financial balance that attacks economic and social inequalities among countries and within each of them will also become a great antidote against those who recruit young people”.

“Because those elements have lost hopes, they lack a future, and so they join in crazy crusades that we must also later regret. We cannot only see the surface of these problems. We must search deeply into the reasons that inspire them”.

Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner touched on a number of equally important issues during her address:

The need to bring about Palestinian sovereign statehood for a real chance at Middle East peace

United Nations reform to bring about a truly democratic world order and provide the chance to solve humanity’s problems

Respect for international law and eliminating double standards

Territorial integrity as it relates to the use of military force

Rescuing the General Assembly from the Security Council with its five permanent members’ holding veto powers

IMF reform and an international agreement/treaty for restructuring sovereign national debts

Working for peace

Answering questions surrounding who is financing and supplying terrorist groups like ISIS

The need to question more to find out what is really going on – the only way to advance toward creating truly global solutions, and leaving a better world for our children

In one of the memorable statements by President Kirchner, she spoke about how “Fictional television shows we enjoy watching are nothing compared to the reality of the world today”.

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Quotes from “South of the Border”: https://onenessofhumanity.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/venezuela-the-rest-of-the-story/ 

(Thank you to KharMagassss at YouTube)