Thursday, February 09, 2012

Imperialism 'Guilty' Says People's Tribunal

Imperialism ‘guilty’ says People’s Tribunal

By Dolores Cox
New York
Published Feb 8, 2012 7:57 PM

The International People’s Tribunal on War Crimes and Violations of International Law was held on Jan. 14 at Columbia University’s School of Law in New York City. The tribunal was sponsored by the December 12th Movement International Secretariat. The tribunal is part of a campaign to seek peace and ensure justice.

The people’s case brought before the presiding judges charges political and military leaders in the U.S., Holland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal and NATO allies with war crimes and human rights abuses against Libya, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Zimbabwe and Haiti.

The criminal acts committed were the bombing of Libya and implementing regime change in Libya; implementing sanctions against Zimbabwe and attempting regime change there; armed intervention in Cote d’Ivoire — a former French colony — to overthrow and arrest President Laurent Gbagbo, rape and ethnic cleansing; coup d’etat in Haiti and the overthrow of President Jean Bertrand Aristide; the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade/African Holocaust and slavery; and institutionalized racism and war on Black people in the U.S.

The charges were crimes against humanity, including murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape and persecution of a definable group.

The laws violated under the United Nations Charter were sovereignty of nations, political independence of nations, territorial integrity of nations, responsibility to protect doctrine, doctrine of humanitarian intervention, and crimes of blatant aggression, which include violation of the Geneva Convention and U.N. Charter regarding torture, rape and attacks involving physical damage to civilians, property and appropriation of property.
On the panel of presiding judges were the Hon. David Comissiong, attorney, 2001 U.N. Durban Conference on Racism, Clement Payne Movement, Barbados; the Hon. Lennox Hinds, attorney, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Rutgers University professor; and the Hon. Rosemari Mealy, attorney, International People’s Tribunal vice president.

The prosecuting and investigation team consisted of Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, attorney, former coordinator American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling Project, Harvard University political science professor, Campaign to End the New Jim Crow; Troy Griffith, attorney, Libya; Sylvestre Kouadio, attorney, African Diaspora for Democracy and Development, Cote d’Ivoire; Alfred Toussaint, attorney, Haiti; and Roger Wareham, attorney, December 12th Movement.

‘Might does not make right!’

Court decorum prevailed throughout. Judges wore formal judicial robes, and court procedures were adhered to. Witness after witness was sworn in and provided testimony as to the criminal acts. Opening remarks by the court secretary included the purpose of the tribunal, a reflection on what a war crime is, and the people’s right to accuse and put ruthless capitalism, ethnic imperialism and neocolonialism on trial and to condemn and indict the Western powers.

The statement was made that “this is a moment in which we’ve claimed agency, taken a lead. We’re about to commence on an important and sacred task. We forthrightly condemn and indict Western powers and their weapons of mass destruction. No impunity for any nation or person for breach of international law. People here are outraged. Might does not make right. Long live freedom!”

Several documentary videos and charts were shown and entered as exhibits. They included video of French rebels in Cote d’Ivoire gunning down young people; video of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi wounded and dying; images of the 1921 Tulsa, Okla., race riot; and exhibits pertaining to police misconduct, brutality and murders of Black and Latino men and youth.

Personal accounts by Black prisoners were submitted, as well as video showing the psychological effects of solitary confinement, which is cruel and inhumane treatment amounting to torture.

Following the judges’ deliberations and assessment of evidence submitted, a verdict was rendered. The judges stated that a prima facie case had been sufficiently made with supportive evidence of an orchestrated and systematic campaign by neocolonial powers to willfully violate the U.N. Charter regarding sovereignty of nations, political independence of nations, territorial integrity of nations, responsibility to protect doctrine, doctrine of humanitarian intervention, and crimes of aggression.

The judges found the accused guilty of the charges levied, and will therefore be demanding that the International Criminal Court adhere to the tribunal’s decision and take action against the guilty parties. The ICC has jurisdiction over international war crimes.

The tribunal closed with the following statement: “We’ll memorialize this historic event. It’s the first time that victims of international crimes are taking the lead. We’re witnessing a cutting edge of international law and are convinced we’re on the right side of history. What we do through this international process is a memorial to the victims.”

The findings of this case will be submitted to the ICC prosecutor at The Hague, the Netherlands. The intention is to take 400 delegates to The Hague from June 16-20. On June 18, a press conference will be held. and the petition and verdict of the people’s tribunal will be presented to the ICC.

People or organizations interested in joining this important delegation should contact the December 12th Movement International Secretariat at 456 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216; phone: 718-398-1766; e-mail:
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