Tag Archives: war crimes

Israel Urged -Seize The Initiative On War Crimes Charges!

Irwin Cotler, Canada’s former Justice Minister, urged Israel to cease complaining about the Goldstone report and establish an independent commission of inquiry into events that occurred during last year’s Gaza invasion. ‘Israel,” he said, “could move from being the defendant to framing the international legal narrative” and noted no nation had ever taken the initiative to conduct its own investigation into allegations of war crimes on its part. His comments echo those of Robert Goldstone who wanted both Israel and Palestinian leaders to initiate their own investigations. Unfortunately, Israel invariably assumes the posture of “the victim” and blames those who make accusation as the real criminals

Legal experts have told the Israel government it could avoid the threat of international criminal prosecution if it held its own investigation. Israel’s constant defensiveness has proven to be the source of most of its growing isolation on the world stage. Even Turkey, its main friend in the Middle East has moved away from Israel due to the Gaza invasion, but the Israel response is to blame Turkey.

I wonder, has Israel ever made a mistake or is every charge simply another example of anti-semitism?

International Or National Kenya Trials?

The people of Kenya are attempting to deal with the horror that arose during last year’s presidential election when Kibaki government unleashed violence against their opponents, many of whom were of different tribal groups. The conflict now emerging is whether those who perpetuated the violence should be tried before the International Criminal Court of Justice or should trials be conducted at the local level. At a meeting with Kenyans in the United States, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he supported trials being conducted by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, but he has now come out in support of trials at the local level by local courts.

The question is whether it is possible to have “justice” if defendants are tried at the local level. Many believe it might be necessary to have trials conducted by outside groups such as the International Criminal Court. However, South Africa was able to try defendants by their Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

War Crimes Must Be Punished!

For over fifty years, Jews and Muslims in the Middle East have blamed the other side for any failure to achieve peace. Richard Goldstone, who recently submitted his report on war crimes in Gaza which blamed both Hamas and the Israel government for violating international agreements on how to conduct war, urges both Israel and Palestinian leaders to clean up their own mess. Goldstone argues that a “culture of impunity” has existed in the region for far too long and it is time for each side to vigorously investigate an allegations of misconduct by its forces.

Goldstone blames the climate which allows each side to blame the other and never gaze into the mirror of reality as a major impediment to achieving peace. It would be preferable if Israel and Hamas openly investigated war crimes by its forces because by so doing it opens opportunities for trust to emerge.

War Objector Allowed To Resign

The United States Army has decided to allow a commissioned officer to resign from the service after he refused to accept an assignment to fight in Iraq. Lt. Ehren Watada will be granted a discharge “under other than honorable conditions.” He preferred an honorable discharge but will accept the one given him. Lt. Watada refused the Iraq assignment on grounds that fighting in that area would make him party to war crimes. His initial court-martial ended in a mistrial.

The war in Iraq has given rise to numerous war crime actions on the part of the United States as well as al-Qaeda. It is best to end this situation and allow those who feel deeply about the war crimes issue to leave the service.

What Has Happened To The Soul Of America?

Once upon a time people looked to America as a nation which upheld constitutional principles of due process and respect for individual rights. The Bush fiasco in Iraq has stained the soul of America because of its desire to gain victory at any cost even if it meant losing one’s soul and self respect. Philip Alston, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings issued a report which accuses the United States of failure to properly investigate or punish crimes against human rights. According to Alston, “there has been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practices and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings–including possible war crimes– in the United States’ international operations.”

Among the cases cited by Alston was the death of General Abed Mowhoush, an Iraq general who was suffocated to death after his head was covered with a sleeping bag and an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer who was responsible for the death was fined and reprimanded but did not serve any jail time.

America must cooperate with UN officials like Alston and get to the heart of what has been going on from the moment George Bush unleashed the dogs of torture and disrespect for law.

UN Security Council Orders Investigation Of Gaza Crimes

Richard Goldstone, a Jewish judge from South Africa, has been appointed by the Security Council to conduct an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel forces during their invasion of Gaza. Goldstone was a former prosecutor of war crimes in Rwanda and Yugoslavia and is respected as an honest man who seeks the truth. Israel has rejected prior demands from the Security Council for investigations about its actions. An Israel spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Yiga Palmor, claimed the “committee is instructed not to to seek out the truth but to signal out Israel for alleged crimes.”

The investigation should be broadly concerned with any evidence of war crimes committed by any group during the Gaza invasion. If Israel soldiers committed war crimes there must be punished just as Hamas forces should be identified if they committed war crimes.

It would help if the Security Council would also institute investigations of war crimes in areas such as Uganda or Congo.

Criminal President Omar Bashir Dodges Arrest

President Omar al-Bashir is trying to rally his nation around him as the International Court of Justice(ICC) pursues efforts to arrest the man who is most responsible for the deaths of over 200,000 in Darfur and the raping of thousands of women. The ICC is expected to issue an warrant for his arrest this week charging him with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The typical response of one who is guilty of crimes is to go on the offense and blame those who seek his arrest for also being guilty of crimes. “Where was international justice during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombing of Gaza, and crimes committed in the prisons of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib?” He charges it is a western plot against a true believer in the rights of Muslims.

In all fairness, President al-Bashir, has raised valid points concerning war crimes. Why doesn’t the International Court of Justice offer along with trying him to issue warrants for George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld for their war crimes? In this way, the world can put four criminals on trial and show people on planet Earth that no one is immune from being tried for war crimes. So, President Bashir, would you accept a trial before the ICC if the three American stooges were also placed on trial?

Was Rumsfeld Guilty Of War Crimes?

There is one topic that Barack Obama would prefer go away without any further discussion and that is the possibility of instituting legal action against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes. Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture told “Frontal 21″ a German television program there is currently sufficient evidence to place Rumsfeld on trial for war crimes. There is more than enough evidence that Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney and Bush ignored the Geneva Convention and are responsible for mistreatment of prisoners who were held in Abu Ghraib. The abuse was not that of a few rogue soldiers but was ordered by those who headed the American government and American military forces. Rumsfeld authorized new interrogation policies for Guantanamo include placing prisoners in “stress positions,” hooding detainees for 20 hour interrogations, exploiting phobia to induce stress, sensory deprivation and isolation.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ALU) in 2003, senior officers of the Judge Advocate General’s office objected to interrogation techniques but “Pentagon officials didn’t think this was a bid deal so they just ignored the JAGs.”

One can go on and on about reports and complaints by officials in the American military or those from international organizations. Donald Rumsfeld was guilty of war crimes and the American people must cleanse their souls by placing this man on trial.

Israel Soldiers Face War Crimes Issues

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is asking the Israel Cabinet to support Israeli soldiers who might be charged with crimes against humanity for their action in recent fighting in Gaza. He said it was the responsibility of the Cabinet “for sending IDF troops on missions as well as defending civilians” and thus the Cabinet must make certain that Israel soldiers can not be prosecuted for war crimes. Barak has ordered the IDF to investigate any examples of behavior of soldiers that might be construed to be in violation of international law.

Richard Falk, in independent UN rights expert is compiling evidence the IDF breached basic humanitarian rules and violated the rules of war by conducting large scale military operations against “an essentially defenseless population.”

As one who supports the existence of Israel as an independent nation and is aware that Hamas violated international law, there is scant doubt so did the IDF. it is a specious argument to say since a mortar attack came from a specific area, this gives permission to bomb without consideration for civilians in the area.

Vice President Dick Cheney Indicted In Texas

A Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney for conspiring to block an investigation into abuse at privately run prisons. The indictment alleges Cheney profited from the abuse because he invested $85 million in a mutual fund which holds shares in the for-profit prisons. This constitutes a conflict of interest and the indictment appears to argue the vice president should have excused himself from dealing with a situation in which he stood to gain. The Indictment further alleges that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, participated by using his position to stop investigations s to the wrong doings which includes the assaults committed in the prison.

There is little possibility the indictment will go any further than providing good copy to the media for a few days. Unfortunately, Dick Cheney should be indicted for lying to the American people about reasons for initiating the war in Iraq. There is no doubt Cheney heavily influenced the Bush decision to invade. The tragedy is the inability to indict this man for crimes against the American people and against humanity.