Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]
02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
International & FuturismSanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics
02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]
02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]
02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
Universal Jurisdiction to Hold Israel Accountable
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Under Universal Jurisdiction, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann.
The well-established universal jurisdiction principle (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.
Thus, under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. A US court sentenced Chuckie Taylor, son of the former Liberian president, to 97 years in prison for torture.
In March 2003, the Special Court for Sierre Leone (SCSL) indicted his father, Charles Taylor, for crimes of war and against humanity. His trial at The Hague's International Court of Justice (ICC) remains ongoing.
Though never held accountable for murdering Chileans and committing other human rights abuses, Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Augusto Pinochet, hold him under house arrest for 18 months, and set a precedent, making other heads of state and top officials vulnerable. Pinochet's bogus ill health claim sent him home, irreparably damaged and disgraced.
Under Article 7 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg:
No one deserves immunity for high crimes demanding accountability. It's time that applied to America and Israel, the two worst offenders.
In June 2009 at a Madrid, Spain conference, Raji Sourani, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Director made the case, saying:
A recent PCHR publication is titled, "The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction ," explaining it in detail with examples, its highlights discussed below.
Though horrific, Cast Lead was just the latest example of decades of Israeli lawlessness - little discussed, unaddressed and unresolved. "Regrettably, this lack of accountability, and the resultant climate of impunity, has been a longstanding feature of Israel's" illegal occupation. "Israel has been allowed to act as a State above the law."
Yet it exists to be enforced. Otherwise, it's irrelevant. However, Palestinians have "limited judicial mechanisms available." According to the 1995 Israel-Palestine Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has no jurisdiction over Israel, including its officials, armed forces members, or other citizens.
Nonetheless, Israel is required to investigate and prosecute its citizens accused of international crimes, a responsibility it's ducked with impunity, a glaring deficiency in its judicial system, exempting war criminals from accountability, in violation of inviolable international standards and principles.
"Justice for Palestinians is not attainable within this system." UJ is the remedy, a "stepping stone (to) universal justice," to protect everyone without discrimination, to address crimes too grave to ignore, to set a precedent for future prosecutions, and warn offenders they're vulnerable.
No accountability encourages criminality, offenders knowing they're safe and can act lawlessly with impunity, especially Israel, shielded by America, the West, and regional indifference or complicity. As a result, Palestinians have suffered grievously for decades, world leaders not giving a damn about their rights or the rule of law, breaking it themselves for not caring.
It's high time UJ principles enforce accountability, using Israel as a test case, including its top government and military officials, guilty of high crimes too grave to be ignored, raising hope for all victims of injustice globally.
Above all, "The pursuit of universal jurisdiction is (the) pursuit of justice. It seeks to ensure an effective remedy for victims - combined with the goal of deterrence - and accountability for those responsible for crimes which 'shock the conscience of humanity.' "
The Applicable Legal Framework
Palestine is belligerently occupied. As a result, international law applies, including the four Geneva Conventions, Hague Regulations, other international humanitarian law (IHL), and Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. As a signatory, Israel is legally bound, including under International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICEPR) provisions such as:
Traditional v. Universal Jurisdiction
Legally, jurisdiction is "the authority of states to prescribe their law, to subject persons and things to adjudication in their courts and other tribunals, and to enforce their law, both judicially and non-judicially," by civil or criminal means.
Five "prescriptive jurisdiction" bases include nationality, territoriality, the protective principle, the passive personality principle, and universal jurisdiction, this discussion focusing on UJ.
It requires "no link of territoriality or nationality between the State and conduct of the offender, nor is the State seeking to protect its security or credit." Only the crime matters, UJ reserved for the worst, ones too serious to go unpunished, their gravity justifying UJ's existence.
Initially for piracy, they were considered outlaws, operating extraterritorially in international waters. Today, international crimes are considered so "threatening to the international community or so heinous in scope and degree that they offend the interest of humanity," all states needing to address them.
However, until post-WW II, UJ applied only to piracy and slave trading, thereafter to genocide, crimes of war and against humanity, as established by the Nuremberg Charter and Judgment, now defined by the ICC to include systematic attacks against civilians, including murder, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer, false imprisonment, torture, rape, sexual slavery, collective punishment, enforced disappearance, and apartheid.
Guilty parties are considered hostis humani generis - enemies of mankind. War crimes are against the jus gentium - the law of nations, international law established to address them.
The International Law Commission's (ILC) principle VI of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, determined that crimes of war and against humanity "rise to the level of international crime," now recognized under customary international law.
A national court exercising UJ acts not in its name, but for the international community - only when responsible countries won't, can't or haven't. In other words, as a last resort.
In addition, various post-WW II Conventions, including the four Geneva ones and their Common Article 1 obligates all High Contracting Parties to "respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances;" namely, to apply its principles universally, requiring High Contracting Parties "search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts."
At Nuremberg, the concepts of individual and command criminal responsibility were addressed, the Tribunal Principles holding that "(a)ny person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment....(c)rimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit (them) can the provisions of international law be enforced."
The Rome Statute's Article 25 of the ICC codified this principle, affirming the culpability of persons committing crimes of war and against humanity. In addition, commanders and their superiors are specifically culpable if they "either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes, (and) failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecutions."
Nuremberg established that immunity is null and void, including for heads of state, other top officials, and top commanders. In addition, genocide, crimes of war and against humanity are so grave that statute of limitation provisions don't apply.
All too often populations, like the Palestinians, are abused for many decades, Israel getting away with mass murder and other grave breaches of law.
UJ is to ensure that individuals committing high crimes are held accountable, essential under the rule of law. Otherwise, it's meaningless. All too often, however, populations, like the Palestinians, are abused for many decades, Israel getting away with mass murder and other grave breaches of law.
As a result, UJ is the only alternative, national courts willing to use it an essential judicial remedy. It's high time they take the first step to universal justice, sending a powerful message that crimes this egregious won't stand, no matter who commits them or shares responsibility.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on August 15, 2010.