Name 1 UN tribunal that has delivered justice for victims?
There is nothing to be surprised when the UN & its heads denounce local mechanisms and laugh at our judiciary and poke fun of our judges. It’s a pity that same sadism does not extend to the more powerful nations who most often are the reasons why nations cannot end conflicts. Most conflicts are in strategic third world nations where those funding terror need conflicts to enable them to descend as conflict resolutionists. These UN created courts only go after anyone and everyone who becomes their enemy and attempt to penetrate into the domestic legal systems so they can manipulate these to their advantage as well. The powerful nations, their local stooges and the organizations funded and providing material support to fan terror are left out of all investigations. So why does a country need to spend millions to frame charges against a selected few only? So far none of the courts held under auspices of the UN/UNHRC have anything to show of success in weighing the time and money spent on it. That money could have been utilized for better causes and given directly to the victims.
World War 2 – criminals were only the enemies of the West.
The victor’s justice came with the hurried establishment of a military court to hold war crimes charges against ONLY the Axis powers (Nuremberg Trials). The war crimes of the Allies went untouched. Another tribunal was held against the Japanese – International Military Tribunal for the Far East. The criminals became the Germans & the Japanese only.
- British took position that Nazi leaders were to be shot without trial.
- German defendants were on trial for offences that had no precedent under international law (though international laws could have been written taking to account the colonial war crimes/crimes against humanity)
- Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population
- Battle deaths on both sides – 15,000,000. Civilian deaths on both sides 45,000,000
International Criminal Court: (ICC)
- Established in 2002 and Luis Moreno-Ocampo became Chief Prosecutor
- Annual budget over $140m (£90m) & 766 staff. Between 2002-2013 ICC cost was $1billion.
- In 10 years it has only completed 1 trial spending $900m (£600m).
- All of the formal investigations are in Africa –
- December 2014, the International Criminal Court dropped its case against the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (there was no case against him – ICC had only wishful thinking and perjured ‘testimony’. The chief ‘judge’ was not even a lawyer)
- 2015 ICC 6 judges – 2 judges do not have any experience in human rights, humanitarian law or genocide. 3 judges have little knowledge of Africa while 1 judge was a former legal advisor to DRC while the other is close to French foreign ministry. 2 judges have no experience in international courts. 2 judges have no working knowledge of French since most cases involve testimonies in French. 1 judge has little experience outside Europe. All judges are male and all are European. justicehub.org
- The Chief Prosecutor was accused of withholding information on Thomas Lubanga the Congolese military/political leader which the UN had given him exonerating Lubanga. The UN & the prosecutor were conspiring to imprison a man based on lies. But the Prosecutor was not asked to resign or was he removed and he went on to launch his next attack on Al Bashir of Sudan.
- Why has the ICC not taken up any of the West’s illegal military interventions, war crimes, crimes against humanity and use of illegal & banned chemicals? Is it not the West that are arming most of the rebel movements and terror groups globally? But then the biggest culprit the US does not recognize the ICC!
- Why is ICC refusing to open case against war crimes in Gaza because of US & Western pressure doesn’t give any confidence of ICC being an impartial body.
ICTY – Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- In May 1993 UN’s 1st war crimes court and 1st tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals was created by the UN Security Council in accordance with chapter VII of the UN Charter.
- ICTY officially shuts down in 2016.
- The ICTY has taken 23 years, 4500 witness testimonies, costing $2billion and only 161 indictments!
- Legal scholar Robert Hayden says that the ICTY has spent $14m per individual trial!
- ICTY did not take up atrocities committed by NATO. ICTY was used to cover up western-influenced military policies.
- ICTY is accused of selective bias in choice of indictments and attempts to re-write history of Yugoslavia conflict.
- ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte declared ‘NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor’
- Case against Serbian leader Milosevic went for 4 years but he died in prison in 2006 (official stand was heart attack but rifampicin was found in his blood) Milosevic was refused the right to defend himself.
- Croatia’s top generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, who had been convicted by the ICTY on extensive war-crimes charges relating to Croatia’s 1995 victory offensive, were acquitted on appeal and went home free men. Momcilo Perisic, who was Serbia’s top general convicted on numerous counts, he went home on appeal. Stanisic and Franko Simatovic had to be released because the 3 judges could not tie the men directly to war crimes.
- Serbian politician Vojislav Seselji voluntarily turned himself in 2003 and for 10 years waited to be put on trial while a Bosnian Muslim General convicted of war crimes against Croats and Serbs was given a state funeral with full military honors in 2010!
- Allegations of massacres exceeding 100,000 on ethnic Albanians was given global coverage. US FBI claimed it was the ‘largest crime scene in the FBI’s forensic history’ – funnily enough only 3000 bodies were exhumed in the ‘mass graves’ drama that hit mainstream media. Even the ICTY had to announce in 2000 that the ‘mass graves’ was only 2788 victims!
UN’s international Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
- The 2nd Tribunal created in November 1994 Security Council Resolution 955
- Prosecution focused specifically on Rwandans that committed the act of genocide.
- The foreign involvement including the UN was omitted from investigation.
- £1 billion spent much of it donated by Western countries including Britain and only 43 are behind bars!
- 20 years of arguments, 8 years to find 2 guilty of inciting genocide in 2011 after their arrest in 1999 but the Tribunal’s appeal judges threw out their convictions because of ‘errors’ in the initial judgement. So much for competency that Zeid was boasting about! 12 others indicted have also been freed.
- The cost per person for the court’s 95 indictees is higher than £11 million each. The victims believe that instead of these trials the money could have been given to the victims directly.
- The ICTR promised in 1994 to indict 700 politicians, government officials, priests (The pastor of a Pentecostal church in Kent, Celestin Mutabaruka, is alleged to have led Hutu militias, armed with spears and machetes, that hacked Tutsis to death and gouged their eyes out) and journalists accused of orchestrating the genocide when 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. 700 became 300 and then just 92 people. Noteworthy is that Jean Kambanda the ex-PM pleaded guilty to genocide.
- The informal courts ran for about 10 years, between 2002 and 2012 and some 1.9 million people appeared before locally elected judges. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, estimated that gacaca courts had cost his country about $40m, compared to the $1.7bn spent by the ICTR. www.theguardian.com
- U.N.-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was founded in 2006 (formed as a hybrid tribunal)
- Hype about ‘appalling genocide’ but after 8 years and spending $200million only 5 indictments were served and only 1 convicted. So much for justice!
- The mainstream newspapers called it Cambodia’s Killing Fields with allegations of 1.7million slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s by Pol Pot.
- In 2006 the UN created Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to investigate crimes against humanity formed as a hybrid tribunal comprising international and domestic law and proceedings heard by foreign and Cambodian judges.
- Declassified US government documents admit to illegal and secret bombing Cambodia by President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger between 1969 and 1973.
- UN’s complicity is also omitted from investigation – although Khmer Rouge government (“Democratic Kampuchea”) had ceased to exist in January 1979, its representatives were allowed to continue occupying Cambodia’s seat at the UN
- American pressure, the World Food Programme handed over $12m in food to the Thai army to pass on to the Khmer Rouge; “20,000 to 40,000 Pol Pot guerillas benefited,” wrote Richard Holbrooke, the then US assistant secretary of state.
- British complicity – On 25 June 1991, after two years of denials, the government finally admitted that the SAS had been secretly training the “resistance” since 1983
- Cambodian lawyer defending Ta Mok, the Khmer Rouge military leader says “All the foreigners involved have to be called to court, and there will be no exceptions . . . Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush . . . we are going to invite them to tell the world why they supported the Khmer Rouge.” But that is only wishful thinking. johnpilger.com
Special Court for Sierra Leone
- Special Court for Sierra Leone was created by an agreement between the UN and the Government of Sierra Leone in 2002 www.sc-sl.org
- Sierra Leone became independent in 1961 after 153 years of colonial occupation. UN established a Peace Keeping Mission in 1999 but collapsed in 2000 and led to the military intervention by UK & UN deployment.
- 65 hectare court complex was built – maintenance of the compound currently costs $1,066,300 annually another tax burden!
- prosecution lawyers most of them are from the United States and none of the local judges knew them nor the procedures that the foreigners were following.
- judges are from countries that have close ties with the US or the US have direct influence over
- under Article 2(2)(a), the agreement says that a trial chamber will be made up of three judges “where one shall be appointed by the Government of Sierra Leone and two judges appointed by the Secretary-General, upon nominations forwarded by States, and in particular the member States of the Economic Community of West African States and the Commonwealth, at the invitation of the Secretary-General.”
- in 2006 Charles Taylor was transferred to an International Criminal Court chamber in The Hague
- Special Court for Sierra Leone found Charles Taylor guilty of aiding the RUF during the Sierra Leonean Civil War on 26 April 2012 and was sentenced to 50 years in prison in UK
- The Court spent up to $23 million on every defendant. Only 22 have so far been indicted!
- The Court trained members of the police force who, back in the real world, still struggle to live on $30 a month
- The Special Court’s brand of justice has been irrelevant to the lives of ordinary people.
- The ICTY was established to deter future crimes – that didn’t happen, indictments in Bosnia didn’t prevent atrocities in Kosovo while indictments for Kosovo didn’t stop atrocities in Sudan nor even in Libya and now Syria.
Special Court for Lebanon
- In January 2007, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) held its opening session in The Hague to try in absentia the suspects (all of them members of Hezbollah) in the Feb. 14, 2005, bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others
- the court, officially launched in 2009, was preceded by a U.N. investigation set in motion by Security Council Resolution 1595.
- The court issued warrants in 2011 for Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra – evidence against the four suspects appears to be largely based on analysis of mobile phone networks.
- The tribunal was requested by the government of then–Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a dedicated U.S. ally quick to pin the blame on Syria. Syria says assassination was part of an Israeli and US conspiracy.
- The year after the Syrian withdrawal, the Israeli military attacked Lebanon for 34 days and killed approximately 1,200 people, most of them civilians.
- In September 2005, four former pro-Syrian Lebanese officers were arrested at the request of the U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission for their suspected role in the assassination.
- most of the STL’s top judges hail from countries that categorize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization
- STL has simply absolved itself of challenges to its legitimacy – “The [STL] trial chamber dismissed all the motions of the defense counsel, who argued that the tribunal was set up illegally, violates Lebanese sovereignty, has selective jurisdiction and does not guarantee the accused a right to fair trial.”
- when the Lebanese parliament failed to ratify the creation of the STL in 2007, the U.N. invoked Chapter 7 of its charter to sidestep the uncooperative state. (This happens to be the same chapter that authorizesmilitary force to uphold U.N. decisions.)
- The head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website] has rejected two motions requesting the disqualification of judges on the grounds of bias.
- 4 years of international investigation has already cost $325 million
- 49% of the court is to be funded by the Lebanese government – a country with a poverty rate more than 60% can do far more with this money than wasting it on a court and judgements that are biased.
Special Court East Timor
- Amnesty International on August 27 called upon the UN Security Council to immediately set up an international criminal tribunal with jurisdiction over all crimes committed in East Timor between 1975 and 1999.
- However, East Timorese President José Ramos-Horta, the founder of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), which led the independence movement declared “both as a human being, victim and head of state, is that we, once and for all, close the 1975-1999 chapters of our tragic experience and forgive those who did harm to us.”
- At a more local level, more progress was made. The UN Special Panel for Serious Crimes in East Timor was established by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to try serious criminal offences that occurred during 1999. This hybrid East-Timorese-international tribunal convicted 84 individuals, but most of them were low-level defendants – not high-ranking commanders
- Over 75 per cent of the people indicted remain at large and only one person is in prison in East Timor for crimes committed in 1999.
- In January 2000, the UN International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor submitted its report to the UN Secretary-General. The commission concluded that Indonesian armed forces were responsible for “patterns of gross violations of human rights which… took the form of systematic and widespread intimidation, killings and massacre, humiliation and terror, destruction of property, violence against women and displacement of people.” The Commission recommended that the UN establish an international human rights tribunal.
- The Indonesian government passed a law in 2004 creating a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to begin to confront past abuses, but the law was severely flawed.
- In January 2006, former East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao handed a report of the East Timorese Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
- The report estimates that between 84,000 and 183,000 people were killed between 1975 and 1999, and that 90 per cent died from hunger and diseases as a result of Indonesian repression.
- There was no sovereign East Timor when the Tribunal was created. East Timor became independent only in May 2002 (Portuguese occupied, 24 years under Indonesian occupation and then 2 ½ UN administration) UN ended its Mission in May 2005. The relationship with Indonesia and East Timor is somewhat like Sri Lanka’s & India!
The East Timor, Cambodia and Sierra Leone were hybrid courts. Kosovo too followed a similar model. Hybrid courts are those that combine international and national element. East Timor became the 1st model of a hybrid court. All 3 crimes plus the Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda occurred before the entry of the Rome Statute and the ICC. Therefore, the ICC does not have jurisdiction over these 3 crimes. The 3 hybrid courts were created by a special agreement between UN (the same scenario being attempted through the GOSL) However the ICC Statute is clear that state judicial authorities have primary responsibility for prosecuting and punishing international crimes.
One reason for the hybrid tribunals were to cover crimes committed prior to the ICC if so why are Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs and legal teams not producing LTTE’s roots and India’s role?
Hybrid tribunals were suggested in environments where domestic systems had collapsed. Sierra Leone and Cambodia had made requests. There is no such scenario in Sri Lanka and moreover it is a fact that UN and foreign interference through the LTTE did not reduce but helped flame the conflict as enough of examples are available to showcase links with NGOs, the Church, foreign governments, foreign parliamentarians, foreign media with LTTE and LTTE diaspora.
However hybrid courts do not have direct authoritative backing of the Security Council. The hybrid courts will apply both domestic and international law, combine international and domestic personnel and judges and employ both domestic and international lawyers (which is probably why Sri Lanka’s lawyers are looking at the lucrative deals they can land if chosen and answers the silence of the USAID run Bar Association)
The issue at hand for the Sri Lankan populace is why should the Sri Lanka army be put on trial when the UN and world bodies ignored 30 years of LTTE terror and kept mum about India’s role in starting armed militancy?
From the resolutions and the manner that the UNHRC has been carrying out itself it is clear that the LTTE’s foreign backers are very much in control of and steering international opinion and orchestrating how and what and who is to be tried. In such a scenario the Sri Lankan public wishes to play no role in handing over the forces who eliminated terrorism enabling 20million people to live without the fear of bombs/suicide missions going off. That for us is far more important than some TRUTH that obviously is unlikely to come and has been shown very clearly by the failed Tribunals and Hybrid Courts held so far.
Taking all the tribunals as examples it is clear that the West indirect role has been omitted from investigation. If so are these tribunals not a mockery of justice. How ridiculous is it to hear reconciliation and TRUTH when 75% of the truth is kept out from investigations for criminal justice?
There is little point in going after sprats when the sharks are very much out there and part of all the problems the world suffers from.
The present government should be well aware of these scenarios without blindly walking into trouble and taking the entire nation with them because they seek revenge against their political opponents!
Shenali D Waduge
Yugoslavia – www.iacenter.org
Rwanda – www.globalresearch.ca
Cambodia – How Thatcher helped Pol Pot www.greenleft.org.au
East Timor – US approved Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor www.wsws.org
Sierra Leone – Britain’s military intervention in Sierra Leone part of a new “Scramble for Africa” www.wsws.org
Kosovo – www.globalresearch.ca
Lebanon – The real aims of the US-backed Israeli war against Lebanon www.wsws.org