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Justice for Some in the Global Justice System

by David Doody


Tags: human rights, international justice, global justice system, International Criminal Court, tribunals, Politics, Z Magazine, David Doody,

International Criminal Court 

If you’re not friends with the U.S. you’re more likely to be held accountable for your international misdeeds. Or so thinks Edward S. Herman who, writing for Z Magazine, says, “One of the major fallacies of our time is the idea that we have entered a new era in which human rights are being attended to more than in the past.” In fact, Herman claims, the only ones being attended to are the rights of the U.S. and others in the “white North.”

Herman finds it alarming that all 14 indictees of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been black Africans and that the ICC does not include as a crime cross-border attacks on other countries under its jurisdiction, “that is, aggression, the ‘supreme international crime’ in the judgment of the Nuremberg court, but a bit awkward for the United States, as that crime is part of its standard modus operandi.”

There’s a double standard, Herman claims, when it comes to the likes of the U.S. and its allies. In the case of the bombing of Pan Am 103—recently brought back into the news by the release of AbdelBasset Ali Al-Megrahi—for example, he questions why Al-Mergrahi, whom some believe was falsely accused, is seen as an international villain—and his case seen as a success story of international justice—while the naval commander, who in the aftermath of the Pan Am bombing carried out the shooting down of Iranian Air Flight 655, which resulted in the loss of 290 civilian lives, is praised as a hero. This isn’t all the fault of the global justice system, though; Herman is quick to point out that stories like the Pan Am 103 bombing are not suitably covered in the mainstream media and therefore the version that does get reported is cemented into the memories of people across the world.

So, are the entities set up to uphold international law serving justice, or are they, as Herman claims, “political instruments serving political ends”?

Source: Z Magazine (article not available online)

Image by Alkan Chaglar, licensed under Creative Commons.