United Nations Watch

During its 50th anniversary session in December 1995, the UN General Assembly initiated a Preparatory Committee for the purpose of creating a permanent international criminal court. While it is generally understood that the finalization of the document will be completed by the delegates and 800 participating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the final session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Rome June 17, it is not always understood the document will remain open for amendment over time.

The view of the ICC jurisdiction being limited to international war crimes carried on by rogue nations is mistaken. Further, potential for the transfer of wartime-established policies to peacetime functions is clearly implied within multiple documents. Not only are peacetime “aggression” and “crimes against humanity” also incorporated within the document, strong pressures exist for gradual expansion of ICC jurisdiction to include social and environmental issues.

The preceding International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) for the former Yugoslavia has been the instrument at the judicial cutting edge which created “a body of law…that (could) become the legal foundation for the war crimes tribunal being organized under UN auspices,” according to a report in the Washington Post (April 12, 1998).

Within the judicial process, the judges created “new rules of procedure” as they wrestled with the legal challenge of working with varying legal and judicial traditions. Such ICT procedures establish that trials will be heard before a panel of three judges since there are no juries at the international level. All evidence, including hearsay is admitted. “We can cut through irrelevancies and evidence that may inflame the passions of juries,” assured the presiding judge, Gabriele Kirk McDonald. The three major divisions of the International Tribunal are run by women: McDonald; chief prosecutor Louise Arbour from Canada; and registrar Dorothee de Sampayo from Holland.

Future expansion

The complex, unresolved issues to be decided in Rome include 99 articles, 1,700 brackets and more than 200 options which reflect conflicting views on the powers and structures of the Court. These issues reach to the heart of the proposed Court’s ultimate functions and establish the jumping-off point for future expansion.

The worrisome aspects of a looming bureaucratically entrenched and ideologically motivated Court with punitive powers over individuals (natural persons), organizations (legal persons) and nation-states could well be realized within the structure and powers of this, or any other, international legal entity backed by enforcement powers within the states.

The model for the “midnight knock on the door” already exists in the wartime-established functions of the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Srpska. The IPTF, acting under the authority of the “High Representative,” and directed by a commissioner appointed by the secretary-general of the United Nations in consultation with the Security Council, assumes “advisory” responsibilities for government authorities over law enforcement activities and judicial procedures. Security Council imperatives require the IPTF Commissioner and personnel “shall enjoy inviolability, shall not be subject to any form of arrest or detention, and shall have absolute immunity from criminal jurisdiction” (Dayton Framework Agreement, Annex 11, 1).

‘Rush and hurry’

The sovereignty of the nations and national security, state cooperation, etc., are a small portion of the complex and deeply significant decisions which will be forced under the “rush and hurry” tactics of UN conferences.

Some participants have argued subject matter jurisdiction should initially be limited to the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, all of which constitute crimes under international customary law. The draft statute expands jurisdiction however to include crimes of “aggression” along with the core crimes. The categories of aggression, terrorism and drug trafficking lack settled definitions within international law. “Crimes against humanity,” which are not defined in any single legal instrument, are construed as widespread systematic acts carried out on a civilian population which are committed or condoned by the state and considered a threat to the “international community.”

Such crimes could be expected to include human rights violations, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearance of persons, rape, forcible population transfers across borders, etc. all of which could be committed both in time of peace or armed conflict.

Enforced pregnancy

Other participants would include “enforced pregnancy,” enforced prostitution, sexual abuse, sexual and gender violence and protection for children under criminal jurisdiction. An intervention prepared by the U.S. delegation argued that under contemporary international law “no war nexus is required” for crimes against humanity.

Moving from an erroneous assumption that the focus of the ICC would be limited to war crimes, and that the term “enforced pregnancy” was so related, language was proposed to alter that term to “forcible impregnation.” Bearing in mind that a standard of ethnicity was used to justify abortions on women subjected to wartime rape in conflicts within the former Yugoslavia, such a standard not only raises serious moral considerations, it also creates a dangerous precedent. Accompanying that proposal was a definition of pregnancy as the “ongoing state of a woman who is not a perpetrator but a victim.” Floating language with these implications into the arena of the United Nations – where support for coercive population control has both contributed to and created dangerous and abusive practices against women and their children – carries alarming potential for furthering such abuses.

It is critical to note at this juncture, the emphasis placed by the U.S. on the inclusion of the 1948 Genocide Convention in its list of recommended “Elements of Offenses.” The elements of that Convention state “that the accused committed one or more of the following acts against a person in a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, because of that person’s membership in that group.” Among the international crimes listed is “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

In light of the existence of state documents such as National Security Memo 200 which targets particular nation-states for population reduction; and in light of the well-documented practices and millions of dollars spent on developing technologies to carry out this intent, the U.S. and other industrialized nations, along with organizations and individuals within the various states, are extraordinarily vulnerable to charges of genocide under the 1948 Convention.

Time for accountability

The existence of such legal accountability under international and federal law has obviously been viewed as inconsequential in the past. How could the people ever gather their scattered forces along with their slim resources to bring the perpetrators to justice and protect the lives of men, women and children throughout the world? It is long past time for the money-men to step forward, vindicate their past violations of the public trust, and justify themselves before God and the people through the direct financing of such an effort.

The decision has been made. There will be a UN-sponsored International Criminal Court which forces nations to conform to an ever-expanding list of international norms unless the nations resist. As the nations await the highly pressured attempts to ratify the initial document within their parliaments, it is worth recalling the text of Our Global Neighborhood, the report of the UN-funded Commission on Global Governance: “the very essence of global governance is the capacity of the international community to ensure compliance with the rules of society.”

(Jean Guilfoyle, formerly with Human Life International, is an authority on United Nations policy and practice. She will write a monthly column for The Interim. This item relates to the UN enfourced pregnnancy initiative discussed on page 3 of this issue of The Interim. Many UN observers have noted the organization’s unfortunate drift away from the humanitarian ideals on which it was founded. Today, the international body is in the forefront of the global depopulation movement.)