Big Papers Want Foreign Companies, Not War Crime Victims, to Sue US

1 October 2016 — FAIR

NYT: The Risks of Suing the Saudis for 9/11The editorial boards of the US’s four most influential newspapers joined President Barack Obama in opposition to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a bill that makes suing Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks markedly easier:

  • Should We Let 9/11 Victims Sue Saudi Arabia? Not So Fast (Washington Post, 9/15/16)
  • An Obama Veto Worth Backing (Wall Street Journal, 9/20/16)
  • The Risks of Suing the Saudis for 9/11 (New York Times, 9/27/16)
  • Uphold Veto on 9/11 Lawsuits: Our View (USA Today, 9/27/16)

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Drone Wars: “Force Protection Alpha in Effect” By Brian Terrell

31 May 2014 — Dissident Voice

On April 15, 2014, when the story broke on the world that the Central Intelligence Agency’s covert program of assassination by remotely controlled drones is not distinct from the drone program of the U.S. Air Force as we had been told, I was on the “Sacred Peace Walk,” an event sponsored each spring by the Nevada Desert Experience, a 70 mile trek from Las Vegas to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Creech Air Force Base is along the way and we had already made plans for a protest there the next morning. While the CIA’s drone program is shrouded in secrecy, the Air Force supposedly has been using drones strictly as a weapon for waging war against combatants in recognized areas of conflict such as Afghanistan and formerly in Iraq, under a chain of command that is accountable to elected officials. Some who condemn the CIA’s assassinations by drones as illegal give a pass to or even laud the Air Force use of drones as a more restrained way to fight war.

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European Parliament votes to protect Wikileaks against financial blockade

21 November, 2012The People’s Record

European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks. In a landmark decision today the European Parliament initiated the drafting of legislation that would stop the arbitrary banking blockades against WikiLeaks and other organizations facing economic censorship. This is an important signal from the European lawmakers. It is a recognition of the seriousness of the precedents set in December 2010, still in force, when Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America launched a unilateral, extrajudicial banking blockade against donations to WikiLeaks.

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Impotence in the face of impunity? By William Bowles

29 February 2012

A fellow writer tells me that she feels overwhelmed by events and I feel the same way. An awful sense of deja vu that we have as much chance of stopping the march to total war as they had in the 1930s. Except that this time it will not be us citizens of Empire who are on the receiving end of Western industrial-scale murder and pillage. The world’s first colonial world war, with the haves pitted against the have-nots. As I have remarked before, without a non-capitalist alternative to not only reign in some of the ‘excesses’ of capitalism but also curtail its relentless expansion, the world is essentially defenceless.

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Global Research: NATO’s Bloody War of Aggression in Libya Selected Articles

22 August 2011 — Global Research

NATO attacks in Libya have escalated to unprecedented levels and mainstream news reports are rife with disinformation. Here’s what’s been falling through the cracks of corporate media this past week:

“War propaganda has entered a new phase, involving the coordinated action of satellite TV stations. CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera have become instruments of disinformation used to demonize governments and justify armed aggressions. These practices are illegal under international law and the impunity of the perpetrators must be stopped.” — Thierry Meyssan, Journalists who engage in war propaganda must be held accountable Continue reading

PCHR and Hickman & Rose Oppose Proposed Changes to Universal Jurisdiction in the UK; Political Considerations Must Not Be Allowed to Triumph over the Rule of Law

1 August, 2010 — PCHR Ref: 66/2010

PCHR and Hickman & Rose Oppose Proposed Changes to Universal Jurisdiction in the UK; Political Considerations Must Not Be Allowed to Triumph over the Rule of Law

On Thursday, 22 July 2010, UK Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced that the British government intends to give the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the power to veto the issue of arrest warrants for universal jurisdiction offences in the UK. The proposal is the direct result of political pressure applied by the government of Israel, following the issue of warrants for the arrest of Doron Almog in 2005, and Tzipi Livni, in 2009. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and Hickman & Rose Solicitors (UK) have been involved in numerous universal jurisdiction cases, both in the UK and elsewhere, beginning with a case brought against Shaoul Mofaz in the UK in 2002.

The proposed change is a purely political move designed to block the arrest of war criminals, from ‘friendly countries’ in the UK.  It is an effort intended to grant immunity under the veil of the law. The proposed change sends out the wrong message to perpetrators, and will lead to the UK  being seen as a ‘safe haven’ for international criminals.

Currently, victims can act quickly and ask the court to issue a warrant for the arrest of a suspect. They must submit evidence that the suspect is present in, or intending to travel to, the UK. The court would only issue an arrest warrant if credible admissible evidence had been submitted which is to a very high threshold, capable of proving all elements of the offence, and the personal criminal liability of the suspect.

Ms. Livni, suspected of having committed war crimes in Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, and others, have alleged that the current system for arrest warrants is open to “cynical exploitation” by those wishing to make political points. However, this claim cannot be substantiated. The current system has not been abused and no single example has been put forward to show that British judges have failed in their duty to screen out baseless or poorly evidenced cases, when issuing arrest warrants.

In 1978, Lord Wilberforce stated that the right to bring private prosecutions is “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of authority”. Lord Diplock described this right as “a useful constitutional safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law.” These words are equally  pertinent today and in this context.

The UK is subject to a duty to apply the criminal law uniformly: the proposed amendment could breach both that obligation, and the UK’s legal obligations arising from the ratification of, inter alia, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and the UN Convention against Torture.

The rule of law must be respected and enforced equally across the board. As legal representatives of victims of international crimes, we expect the British Parliament to reject this attempt to promote the triumph of politics over the law and individuals’ fundamental human rights.
 
For more information on universal jurisdiction, see ‘The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction: PCHR’s work in the occupied Palestinian territory’ released by PCHR in 2010.