Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finally France takes evidence of crimes against humanity in Syria to Security Council and ICC

Sometimes the pace of events, especially those events in which hundreds of thousands of innocent people are murdered, maimed, starved, displaced, wounded and even gassed, is such that many of us grow impatient with the almost inverse pace of bringing those responsible to account. Today, amid stories of the kidnapping of some 100 women students by thugs in Nigeria:*
...we are finally seeing the results of a lengthy investigation into the massacre that has been sanitized in most reports in the western media as a "civil war" in Syria.
And once again, it has taken the courage, and the diligence and the creativity of a single defector to bring the evidence forward, supported by the funding of Qatar, a staunch supporter of the opposition.

France goes to ICC over Syria
from iafrica.com, April 16, 2014

France will table a proposal before the United Nations Security Council authorizing the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity in Syria, French ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud said on Tuesday.
Araud told reporters that France hoped to introduce the resolution in the next few weeks, following a presentation to council members of a gruesome dossier containing thousands of photos showing detainees who had been starved or tortured in prisons run by the Syrian regime.
"We are going to try to obtain authorization for the ICC to act," Araud said.
"We now have proof," he added, referring to the dossier of evidence compiled by "Caesar," the codename given to a defector who captured the images before fleeing Syria.
The "Caesar Report", sponsored and funded by Qatar, a staunch supporter of opposition forces in Syria's bloody civil war, states that 11 000 people died in regime jails between 2011 and 2013. The report contains some 55 000 images depicting abuse of victims.
Two of the experts who examined the photos and authenticated claims made by the defector say the dossier represents credible evidence to be put before the ICC.
"Our judgement is that all this evidence is credible," said David Crane, former chief prosecutor for the special tribunal on Sierra Leone that indicted Charles Taylor.

Of course, while the evidence may well be both credible and convincing, it will take another round of serious investigation to determine who actually committed the crimes detailed in the photographic evidence. And then, as in most of these cases, it will take another period of time to bring the world community to the place where adequate pressure is brought to bear on those who have to be charged, in order to bring them to the ICC.
And while the process may seem interminable, especially compared with what many have known and observed throughout the conflict, it is a never-ending process, provided there are individuals and people(countries or organizations) willing to support their clandestine efforts to bring the truth to the light of day, and to the appropriate authorities.
Just when the United Nations has announced that it is inappropriate for it to place Peacekeepers in Ukraine, after the new government in that country formally requested such forces, to help quell the civil conflict fomented under the aegis of the Kremlin, and some of us were losing faith, once again, in the international body, the presentation by the French to the Security Council could, provided there is no Russian veto, or perhaps even one from China, generate the initiative to bring this evidence to the ICC.
Every initiative, no matter how small individually, that can demonstrate the brutality and the eventual futility of violence as an instrument of political strategy, including the violence of the gangs and cells of terrorists currently encircling the world, and of those masked bullies in eastern Ukraine, formerly in Crimea, as mercenary agents of states willing to hind behind their paid masks, has to be deployed in another interminable effort to take both state-enacted and state supported military and quasi-military action from the arsenal of all states. And while we all know that such a prospect is not either likely or even feasible, it is nevertheless a goal worthy of being retained as a fantasy to which all civilized humans can aspire.
And from among those retaining such a fantasy can and will come others who, like the "Caesar" in the report on Syria, will help to shape history and bend it toward increased exposure and accountability of those determined to perpetuate violence, of all means, in all situations.

*More than 100 female students have been abducted by suspected Islamist insurgents in a raid on a secondary school in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state.
Gunmen thought to be members of Boko Haram carried off the teenage girls from the school in Chibok late in Monday night.
The raid took place on the same day as a bomb attack killed at least 75 people on the edge of the capital Abuja.
With elections due next February, President Goodluck Jonathan is under intense pressure to contain the five-year insurgency, which is posing a growing security risk to Africa’s top oil producer. (From euronews.com April 16, 2014)

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