Wednesday, February 19, 2014

US: sign on to ICC; Security Council: drop veto on crimes against humanity

The United Nations has observers in so many countries, attempting to bring to light the many and various abuses of power by regimes that have inflicted death and pain and various forms of suffering including starvation and refugee status. These countries include, Congo, Sudan, Syria and even North Korea. However, with "umbrella" protection coming from states like Russia ( for Syria) and China (for North Korea) even statements and initiatives that would see the leaders of these countries, and others, brought before the International Criminal Court will be thwarted when it is time to vote in the Security Council to actually bring these leaders to their knees.
Just as in local and national politics, increasingly those with the big cheque books carry the day in funding electoral campaigns, so in the international arena, those with the biggest footprints, meaning those whose voice, including their Security Council veto, seal the fate of millions of victims to the criminal activities of their puppet leaders.
The world can see and read about the various forms of abuse, including deliberate imprisonment, torture, starvation and even in the case of Syria, bombing with chemical weapons, without being able to bring these political terrorists to heel in the very forums that were designed to prevent another holocaust-like event. It is, however, becoming increasingly evident that the United Nations charter that permits the veto power to the five original members of the Security Council has to be amended to prevent bringing leaders like Assad and Kim Jong-un before a panel of judges for a trial that would cost millions but could possibly bring their regimes and the horrendous pain and suffering they are inflicting on their own people to an end. Probably, if there were no veto, in the cases of human rights crimes and injustices that could be verified, a majority of four of the five members would be able to serve as a decision-making  body to bring offending leaders at least to trial. It is the veto that is holding millions of people hostage to a decision-making body that is impotent by its own design.
And we all know that the veto is most likely the one reason that the Security Council was able to be created in the first place. Surrendering sovereignty, in any form, is something the big boys never like to do, and never to will a full commitment. Hence, we note, once again, that the United States has not itself signed on to the ICC, fearing that its own citizens could become before the court in the event that behaviour while on duty in an international conflict zone crossed the international legal line of crimes against humanity.
War is both consistent with and colluding with and even inducing crimes against humanity. It could even be argued that war itself is a "crime against humanity"....and for many could result in bringing any leader who inflicted a war that was without provocation on another country to the ICC (and that would include both George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, the US leaders responsible for the war on Iraq and on Afghanistan.)
The more one reads about criminal use of power by those in positions of both authority and responsibility, including on the television screens in Kiev Ukraine (with 25 peaceful demonstrators killed in yesterday's burning of their tents that have occupied the town square for months, at the hands of the government, allegedly advised by Russian operatives, under Putin's thumb), and by the North Korean leader and by Assad, the more one wishes that the United Nations could provide the kind of sanctions that would bring about a universal signatory list to the ICC that would include the US, and that would permit the Security Council to serve in a manner similar to a grand jury, viewing the evidence, and bringing offending "officialdom" to trial before the world's legal jurists.

 By Peter Walker, the Telegraph, February 18, 2014
North Korea's leadership is committing systematic and appalling human rights abuses against its own citizens on a scale unparalleled in the modern world, crimes against humanity with strong resemblances to those committed by the Nazis, a United Nations inquiry has concluded.
The UN's commission on human rights in North Korea, which gathered evidence for almost a year, including often harrowing testimony at public hearings worldwide, said there was compelling evidence of torture, execution and arbitrary imprisonment, deliberate starvation and an almost complete lack of free thought and belief.
The chair of the three-strong panel set up by the UN commissioner on human rights has personally written to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to warn that he could face trial at the international criminal court (ICC) for his personal culpability as head of state and leader of the military.
"The commission wishes to draw your attention that it will therefore recommend that the United Nations refer the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [the formal name for North Korea] to the international criminal court to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity," Michael Kirby, an Australian retired judge, wrote to Kim.

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