Spanish Court Seeks Arrest of Former Chinese Leaders in Tibet Case

Spain’s National Court has ordered arrest warrants for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four other officials on suspicion of involvement in alleged genocide in Tibet. The Tibet Support Committee filed suit against the former Chinese leaders in Spain because the European country enables its courts to prosecute alleged war crimes and genocide committed anywhere, provided the victims include Spanish citizens. One of the co-plaintiffs is a Tibetan Buddhist monk with Spanish citizenship, Thubten Wangchen.

Tibet Support Committee head Alan Cantos told VOA another reason his group is seeking prosecutions in Spain is that Chinese officials cannot be tried at the International Criminal Court. China has refused to ratify the Rome Statute that established the Netherlands-based court in 2002.

Spain’s policy of granting universal jurisdiction to courts in war crimes and genocide cases allowed a Spanish judge to pursue charges against the late former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet. British authorities detained the former autocratic ruler in London in 1998 in connection with that case, but later released him on medical grounds.

One notable success for Spain’s universal jurisdiction system was the conviction of former Argentinean naval officer Adolfo Scilingo in 2005 for crimes against humanity. After he traveled to Spain voluntarily, a Spanish court sentenced Scilingo to hundreds of years in prison for complicity in throwing 30 people to their deaths from planes when Argentina was under military rule from 1976 to 1983, a period known as the “dirty war.”

http://www.voanews.com/content/spanish-court-seeks-arrest-of-former-chinese-leaders-in-tibet-case/1793614.html

UNSC refused to defer the trial

So, finally United Nations Security Council (UNSC) refused to defer the trial of Kenya’s President and Vice President for one year.(1)The power to defer the proceedings has been invested with the UNSC under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. For purpose of deference, Kenya required total 9 votes according to Article 27 of UN Charter which states that matters except non-procedural require 9 affirmative votes in UNSC including all five permanent members.(2) But, it could gather only 7 votes because other eight members of UNSC abstained from voting which includes USA, UK and France. Whereas China and Russia voted in favor of deferral. The reason cited to defer the trial was that ‘court case is distracting and preventing Kenyatta and Ruto from carrying out their duties. And reference was also made to a terrorist attack in in September at a mall in Nairobi that left over 60 people dead.(3) China’s representative said that ‘Deferring ICC proceedings against Kenyan leaders is not only the concern of Kenya, but also the concern of all African countries. It is indeed an urgent need dictated bythe interest of maintaining regional peace and stability.’ (4) The question this remark raises is that can justice be traded off for peace and stability? what is meaning of peace without justice?

The African nations, led by Rwanda, who proposed the resolution faced strong criticism for the challenge and the way it was forced upon the council i.e. resolution was called as ‘un-necessary’, which created ‘artificial confrontation’ between International Criminal Court(ICC) and UNSC. (5) African countries was using the narrative of discrimination which is unfortunately true to some extent. This is evident from the fact that 20 cases in 8 situations brought before ICC are all from African Region. (6)But I don’t subscribe to the idea that we should let go of one criminal because others are not prosecuted. that reasoning is absurd. And another point to be noted is that out of these 8 situations about 4 situations were referred by those states themselves.

To date, four States Parties to the Rome Statute – Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Mali – have referred situations occurring on their territories to the Court. (7) visited on 18-11-2013

But that should not blind us to fact that some countries are using ICC and exercising power without bearing any responsibility. Yes! I am talking about USA. But what about the citizens of Kenya. So there was poll conducted according to which  67 percent of 2,060 Kenyans surveyed think that President Uhuru Kenyatta should attend his trial at the International Criminal Court.(8) Apparently, a common man of Kenya doesn’t subscribe to the views of African Union.

Background:

The ICC charged Kenyatta and Ruto with crimes against humanity, including murder, forcible population transfer and persecution, for their alleged roles in postelection violence that left more than 1,000 people dead in late 2007 and early 2008. Kenyatta also is accused of responsibility for rape and other inhumane acts carried out by a criminal gang known as the Mungiki, which was allegedly under his control.

A little local difficulty

Paul Mooney, one of the longest-serving and most accomplished foreign journalists in China, renowned for his unflinching coverage of human-rights abuses, had been denied a visa to return as a correspondent for Reuters.

China is pressing foreign news organisations more than ever to pull punches in their coverage. And it appears to be getting harder to resist such demands. In 2012 both Bloomberg and the New York Times defied pressure not to publish exposés about the wealth of the family members of China’s top leaders, including Xi Jinping, now president, and Wen Jiabao, then the prime minister. Authorities responded by punishing both organisations. Their websites have been blocked in China, and Bloomberg has lost some of its lucrative terminal business.

source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2013/11/foreign-journalism-under-pressure?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/alittlelocaldifficulty

slavery Index

A global slavery index released on Thursday shows that about 30 million people are living like slaves around the world. Many among those, men, women and children are trafficked by gangs for sex and unskilled labour. Modern slavery was defined as human trafficking, forced labour, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.

The index, released on Thursday by anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation, ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity. It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons

Source: www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/10/index-nearly-30-million-people-slavery-201310171748274269.html