"Justice Lite" Utne Reader artical by David Rieff

greenspun.com : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

After scanning the Nov-Dec 98 Utne Reader, I was compelled to go back and carefully read the article about a war crimes court. The issue of justice was to be addressed which flys directly in the face of our new world virtue; tolerance. What will the author's reaction be to some court imposing a standard? I had to look at the last paragraph to see if it would be different than expected. I thought Mr.Rieff made the typical resonse; "not hope, but disillusion."

Architects of horror, that have created genocide,& ethnic cleans- ing after the cold war, are being taken to International Criminal Court. The court was created in Rome on July 17,1998. Those committing crimes against humanity will have to reckon with the possibility that they will be brought before the international bar to face up, and be held accountable for what they've done. Then justice will be served.

The author sights three organizations that have intentions of ac- countability for states that have signed the treaty. But he says the Open Society Institute, Human Rights Watch and Doctors With out Borders are "probably" to weak to bring wrongdoers to justice because most crimes committed go on outside the purview of the Rome treaty, for instance Saddam Hussein's war against the Kurds, Pol Pot's reign of terror, and the Rwandon genocide of 1994.

The United States is expected to to be the outside power to stop the horror, which inflames the isolationists that are characteristic of the U.S. citizens. Clinton recently has given our military; United Nation emblems, which have been rejected by a military personnal which resulted in his court marshal.

Proponents of the court wager that the long-term bennefits of taking this first step far out weigh the meager practical results that can be expected from the court as it is now constituted. Some feel initiatives should be judged by the actions they are likely to engender in the here and now, not by the better world they may, in some indeterminate future, help to usher in. In the absence of a world goverment, or UN army, a strong action can be undertaken only by states. Others feel utopianism can be a fine thing but the world is in contradictian to that view, a law in a lawless world. Afterall, can we outlaw war by a court?

Time has proved the world is still the same and there is no evolution at all. Force is the only thing that will stop Bosnia or Rwanda, not the fact that something is written down on a treaty somewhere, stating that they will have a jail sentence. It seems the advocates of the court concluded that history is at an end, otherwise Sherman's war crimes in Georgia during the American Civil War was somehow different. Even in the currant political and world situations, people deny that anyone should be held accountable for certain moral behaviors because they believe there is no fixed standard. The numbers of the dead unborn humans by the abortion mills is rising past 35,000,000, supported fully by the present administration of the United States. Morality seems to be the concensus of what is accepted by the majority on how they feel about it at that time.

The new morality of multiculturalism in the United States can't agree on anything. The court is constructing a legal and political stucture that doesn't exist because the International community doesn't exist. This court is emperial in nature with a global reach arguing that to oppose them would be to surrender to despair.

It is right to be in despair over the confused state of our world but to support another moral code that is evolving by another opinion is to much to stand for. Laws will not rescue us from ourselves. The only way a universal standard could possible be accepted is to have its roots in the begaining of time and formulated to be true to reality. I do believe there is hope through knowledge but understanding is what gives it power.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

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