Transnational Justice Matters: An ICC Overview

Student at National Law University in Dehli Rakesh Roshan’s insightful article discussing the International Criminal Court raises the question of what means are available to convince non-ICC nations United States, Russia, China, India and others to sign the Rome Statute and agree to come under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Imagine you as a citizen of your town or city are deterred by laws against committing brutal crimes, but that citizens in the town or city next to yours have no similar laws, no deterrence against the same brutal crimes, and that citizens in the town or city next to yours commit brutal (war) crimes – with impunity.

That simple analogy makes clear why universal ICC membership as a goal is possibly the most important challenge facing this generation of humanity on Earth.

World peace is possible.

International Law Square

By Rakesh Roshan*

On 1st July 2017, the International Criminal Court completed 15 years. While there are 24 cases that have been brought before the Court, it has only managed to convict 4 individuals in all these years, but it is hoped that it carries to deliver universal justice in an unprecedented manner.

Picture1.pngSource: About ICC

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U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Reveals Syria Truth To World.

by Jerry Alatalo

whitekeys4-1Alphabet While watching South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham question Defense Secretary Ashton Carter about the situation in Syria, notice the contrast between the level of focus he displays on “taking down” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the attention he places on defeating the terrorist group ISIS.  It’s quite possible Mr. Graham’s frustration over the remarkable shift in world opinion on Syria since the Russia air campaign against ISIS has led to loss of political discretion and self-control. Because of that he’s revealed the #1 U.S. goal since 2011 in Syria has been removal of Assad – not defeating ISIS.

During Senator Graham’s time for questions he mentions ISIS a total of seven times, and, it is worth noting, there is absolutely zero elaboration from him, or solicitation of thoughts from Mr. Carter, on the terrorist group. In other words, during Mr. Graham’s time ISIS becomes mentioned only in passing, essentially an afterthought not even rising to the level of importance high enough to become discussed.

He mentions Bashar al-Assad – often using the phrase “take down Assad” – twenty-two times. The Senator from South Carolina also made certain to point out with emphasis the debatable statistic that Assad has killed 250,000 of his own people, and giving the impression that the Syrian President bares sole responsibility for all who perished in the war begun in 2011. Like many others who use the same statistic , Mr. Graham fails to note that tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers have perished in the fighting; Mr. Graham fails to mention the number of Syrians killed by terrorists, giving the impression terrorist groups in Syria since 2011 have sat in their camps playing cards all day, every day – as if terrorist violence is not even a factor.

Placing side-by-side Mr. Graham’s total focus on his advocating that Bashar al-Assad’s removal as leader of Syria should be the #1 military mission and his absence of focus on defeating ISIS and other terrorist groups raises extremely serious questions. Among those questions – and for this one it would be interesting to see Mr. Graham testifying before the same committee instead of Mr. Carter – is “What exactly did you mean, Mr Graham, when you said ‘the strategy has completely fallen apart’?”

During this Senate hearing, and before the people of the world, Lindsey Graham essentially admitted the “strategy” in Syria from the beginning of the war there in 2011 was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

This video has received over 35,000 views at this YouTube channel and generated 720 comments – the majority (98%) of comments from men and women shocked, offended and highly critical of Lindsey Graham.

For viewers it must seem remarkable, astonishing and disturbing that a United States Senator would display such a level of disrespect toward citizens appearing before his committee to share thoughts and engage in important discussion, much less the Secretary of Defense and a high-ranking military official.

As an American it is difficult to suggest the time has arrived for another self-examination like that which occurred in the 1970’s during the  Church Committee Hearings. It could be the only way to salvage, slow, stop or reverse the unfortunate consequences of America’s faltering reputation around the Earth.

Absent a situation such as occurred when John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchov worked through secret channels to avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or if Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are not talking to each other, then advocates for peace the world over must act wisely to prevent military escalation.

(Thank you to Russia Insider at YouTube)

Spring 2015 On Planet Earth.

Comment (JA): Christopher Black writes a very thought-provoking piece touching on nuclear war, International Law, religion and philosophy, moral bankruptcy, coöperation, liberation, and love of mankind.

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(Cross-posted from journal-neo.org on April 9, 2015)

Author: Christopher Black

Western Moral Bankruptcy and the New “Eastern” Hope

453453452222Spring has arrived in the north but the flowers poking their heads above the warming ground do not bring smiles to those who see them. The song of birds, so pleasant to the ear tired of the winter winds does not warm the heart. The rising sun that brightens each day more than the last brings no promise of a happy summer. Instead the world sinks into an abyss so dark that it seems no light can ever escape it, dragged down a black hole of despair by greed and ambition, barbarity and cruelty, criminality and ignorance.

We need reason and kindness applied to the problems that face us but instead violence and brutality are the norms of modern conduct. How low mankind has sunk since the Enlightenment promised to bring us the benefits of our intelligence and curiosity about life, nature, science, law, and government. Voltaire is dead. Marx slandered. Shelley, Zola, Hugo, Steinbeck, who carries their torch now?

The hopes that mankind expressed then have been smashed by the economic system that produces the misery of the many for the riches of the few. The golden tree of democracy that sprang from the seed of the sacrifice of the people who struggled to plant it has been hacked and cut down to its roots, and struggles to rise again.

The world over, the people, the common people, the people who have to work for their living call for peace, for the elimination of ignorance, of superstition, for a chance to have a say in how their lives unfold. In a few countries modest successes have been achieved and in a few, great ones. But in the countries that make up what is termed the west, Europe and North America, the successes of the social revolutions of the past have been overturned, reaction has replaced progress and brute force and gangsterism are applauded by the servile and their intellectual apologists alike.

The threat of nuclear annihilation is so immediate that we talk about it openly every day. The western leaders, drunk with their own hubris and arrogance, push the limits of tolerance and threaten the mass murder of millions, and yet their peoples sit by their computer screens, their television sets, their mobile phones and instead of going onto the streets to demand the overthrow of this system, yearn only for more popcorn to stuff their mouths or easier ways to send strangers “selfies”, sad photos of themselves, the only way they have of confirming their own bleak existence. Instead of being involved outside themselves to find meaning in life they descend into the sterility and the vacuity of their own vanity. Citizens, with a responsibility to those around them to ensure the justness of their societies have become bored consumers, each one expendable once the money runs out, as it always does.

Law, once seen as a means to ensure fairness and the smooth interaction of all the components of a complex society has become a tool for the oppressor instead of a guarantor of the right of the individual to express their full humanity. Instead of being used to liberate, it is used to dominate and suppress, to manipulate and exploit, to obfuscate and mislead. International Law, once the hope of mankind for a secure peace and rational and respectful relations among nations, is cynically twisted into a rope to hang those who resist the new barbarians who control the gates and levers of power.

Religion and philosophy are at an impasse. The wise words of their teachings seem to have little effect on the behaviour of most of mankind. Every religion shares the golden rule that no one should do to others what they are not willing to have done to themselves, but who lives it? Today we have no saints. Instead the masses are for whoever gives them a living.

During the 60’s and the years after, of the last century the liberation movements in the European colonial empires and the reaction of the people to the Second World War produced an energy and an optimism that is now a fond memory of youth. The world was different then. The poor of the world, the working people of the world, had the Soviet Union to look to as a example of what they could do, the remarkable rise of socialist China, the historic victory of Vietnam over America, the heroic resistance and example of what humanity was capable of in Cuba, that giant among nations. There was revolution in the air in London, in Paris, in America, in politics, in music, in film, in philosophy. But now everything in the west has become grey, banal and uniform. Where are The Clash now or The Beatles? Where are the Sartre’s and Camus’, the Ginsberg’s and the New Wave?

International Law had some application and effect then. But let’s admit it. The whole structure depended on force, and counter force. Remove the one and the other ran riot over the world, a gangster drunk on power, pawing and raping every country it could for whatever it could get. Now we are reduced to the law of the savage whose only rule is that there are none, preying on the small and vulnerable, recognizing nothing but the power to take. Their philosophy is “Law? We make our own laws and we take what we need.” Only the old Arab proverb describes our condition; “ The world is a carcass and those who seek it are dogs.” The western armies feed on the carrion of the dead on every continent, their cruelty so deep that it brings to mind the words of Ovid,

“Though men in shape, they scarce deserve the name;

Their savagery doth put the wolves to shame.”

And everywhere there is fear and anxiety.

The West is politically and morally bankrupt. The free market has reduced everything to the status of commodity, human beings to ciphers, the state to a universal spy. Yet, in the east, in China, in Russia, in Latin America, a new energy has shone its light on human possibilities, on sharing, cooperation, love of mankind instead of hatred, peaceful cooperation instead of conflict and death. We in the west need now to look to the east, to the south, to our own past, to find the strength and the will to regenerate ourselves, to save ourselves, and the planet we live on, from those in our midst who would reduce us to slavery and hopelessness,

The way forward is marked out. We just have to take it and soon for storm clouds and thunder threaten. The path is dangerous and long. The fascists are revealed and the knives are drawn. In May we celebrate the final victory of the Red Army over European fascism, the liberation of Europe from the black shirts and the brown. The armies of the west fought on the same side then. Now they are with the fascists. No doubt they always were. We need a new liberation, a liberation of the west that can come only from the peoples of the west who only have to look up at the sky instead of down at the mud. We have no Red Army to help us now.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/04/09/western-moral-bankruptcy-and-the-new-eastern-hope/

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False Flags And Ending The Military-Industrial-Complex.

Posted on October 12, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-15Kind of a double post here, with Kevin Barrett and James Fetzer on their show “False Flag Weekly News” from Thursday October 9, then an October 13 article titled, “The Disturbing Expansion of the Military-Industrial-Complex” by 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire of Ireland.

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Mr. Barrett and Mr. Fetzer always seem to cover a lot of topics on their show, and this one is no exception. Both agree that they’d be happy if the world no longer experienced false flags and government lies, even though they’d have to find other things to do with their time spent researching and reporting on them. It’s interesting to note that this video has been seen around 1,500 times on YouTube, while music videos, funny clips, “hot new trailers” for movies, and “popular right now” at YouTube’s front page received views in the hundreds of thousands up to 8 million.

Former university professors Barrett and Fetzer talk about such wide-ranging issues as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s United Nations address where he equated men and women who question the official government narrative on 9/11 and 7/7 to members of ISIS, unusual occurrences (including the death of a friend of the brothers accused) surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing,  and Joe Biden’s truthful “foot in the mouth” statements about the US’ allies funding of ISIS.

Other issues discussed include European Union member states’ purchasing of oil from ISIS, newly discovered “imminent threat” terrorist group Khorasan, Rita Katz’ release of another beheading video, Argentina’s revelation of Israeli 1992 and 1994 false flag/black-ops in Buenos Aires, Sweden’s recognition of the State of Palestine, a German journalist’s admission of media involvement by US intelligence and narratives pushing for war with Russia, high numbers of civilian deaths from drone strikes compared to actual terrorists, the death of a young Venezuelan politician, the FCC’s plans to regulate the internet, Ebola, Hong Kong demonstrations, and more.

At the end of their last number of shows, Mr. Barrett and Mr. Fetzer have included a humorous article. Ending the show with a laugh becomes greatly appreciated as the topics these men cover are far from humorous, and most men and women understand the need to break the dark mood produced by harsh realities in the world and allow some normalcy, sanity and balance.

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(Thank you to noliesradio at YouTube)

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Mairead Maguire’s latest article provides contrast to Kevin Barrett and James Fetzer, where she writes about the broad implications of continued militarization, war, and spending on weapons around the Earth. Her wise views will be represented in an upcoming writing about a concept for transforming the world’s many separate national militaries into one global police force, possibly eliminating nation against nation warfare.

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(Cross-posted from InterPress Service News: http://www.ipsnews.net)

by Mairead Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate

BELFAST, Oct 13 2014 (IPS) – How can we explain that in the 2lst century we are still training millions of men and women in our armed forces and sending them to war? 

There are more choices than war or peace, there are multi-optional choices and a civilian-based non-military diplomatic-political policy has more chance of succeeding in solving a violent conflict.

In war, the cost in civilian lives is incalculable, not to mention the many military personnel whose lives are destroyed.  Then there is the cost to the environment and the cost to human potential as our scientists waste their lives planning and researching even more horrific weapons which increasingly, in modern war, kill more civilians than combatants.

 

For example, the United States and the United Kingdom committed genocide against the Iraqi people when, between 1990 and 2012, they killed 3.3 million people – including 750,000 children – through sanctions and wars.

We all also watched our television screens in horror in July and August this year as the Israeli military bombarded civilians in Gaza for 50 days.

But, why are we surprised at this cruelty of military when they are doing what they are trained to do – kill, at the behest of their politicians and some people?

It is shocking to listen to politicians and military boast of their military prowess when in lay persons’ terms what it means is killing of human beings.

Every day through our television and local culture, we are subjected to the glorification of militarism and bombarded with war propaganda by governments telling us we need nuclear weapons, arms manufacturers, and war to kill the killers who might kill us.

However, too many people do not have peace or the basics to help them achieve peace.

“Every day through our television and local culture, we are subjected to the glorification of militarism and bombarded with war propaganda by governments telling us we need nuclear weapons, arms manufacturers, and war to kill the killers who might kill us”

They live their lives struggling with the roots of violence, some of which are poverty, war, militarism, occupation, racism and fascism. They have seen that they release uncontrollable forces of tribalism and nationalism. These are dangerous and murderous forms of identity which we need to transcend.

To do this, we need to acknowledge that our common humanity and human dignity are more important than our different traditions; to recognise that our lives and the lives of others are sacred and we can solve our problems without killing each other; to accept and celebrate diversity and otherness; to work to heal the ‘old’ divisions and misunderstandings; to give and accept forgiveness, and to choose listening, dialogue and diplomacy; to disarm and demilitarise as the pathway to peace.

In my own country, in Northern Ireland, when faced with a violent and prolonged ethnic/political conflict, the civil community organised to take a stand, rejected all violence and committed itself to working for peace, justice and reconciliation.

Through unconditional, all-inclusive dialogue, we reached peace and continue to work to build up trust and friendship and change in the post-conflict era. The civil community took a leading role in this journey from violence to peace.

I hope this will give an example to other countries such as Ukraine, where it is necessary for an end to the war, and a solution of the problem on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations and the Helsinki Accords.

We are also challenged to continue to build structures through which we can cooperate and which reflect our relations of interconnection and interdependence.  The vision of the founders of the European Union to link countries together economically in order to lessen the likelihood of war among nations is a worthy endeavour.

Unfortunately instead of putting more energy into providing help for E.U. citizens and others, we are witnessing the growing militarisation of Europe, its role as a driving force for armament and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the United States/NATO, towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression.

The European Union and many of its countries, which used to take initiatives in the United Nations for peaceful settlements of conflict, are now one of the most important war assets of the U.S./NATO front.  Many countries have also been drawn into complicity in breaking international law through U.S./U.K./NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so on.

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It is for this reason that I believe NATO should be abolished and that steps be taken towards disarmament through non-violent action and civil resistance.

The means of resistance are very important. Our message that armed groups, militarism and war do not solve our problem but aggravate them challenges us to use new ways and that is why we need to teach the science of peace at every level of society.

The whole of civilisation is now facing a challenge with the growth of what President Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) warned the U.S. people against – the military/industrial complex – saying that it would destroy U.S. democracy.

We know now that a small group made up of the military/industrial/media/corporate/academic elite, whose agenda is profit, arms, war and valuable resources, now holds power worldwide and has a stronghold on elected governments.  We see this in the gun and Israeli lobbies, among others, which wield great power over U.S. politics.

We have witnessed this in ongoing wars, invasions, occupations and proxy wars, all allegedly in the name of “humanitarian intervention and democracy”. However, in reality, they are causing great suffering, especially to the poor, through their policies of arms, war, domination and control of other countries and their resources.

Unmaking this agenda of war and demanding the implementation of justice, human rights and international law is the work of the peace movement.

We can turn our current path of destruction around by spelling out a clear vision of what kind of a world we want to live in, demanding an end to the military-industrial complex, and insisting that our governments adopt policies of peace, just economics and cooperation with each other in this multi-polar world.