Tag Archives: international law

Tell the Truth About the Arms Trade Treaty – NYTimes.com

Let’s hear the case for the Arms Trade Treaty, which has the overwhelming support of the General Assembly:

Yet now, just days after the United Nations’ 154-to-3 vote, top United States officials are already hedging on whether President Obama will sign the treaty when it opens for signature at the United Nations on June 3 — let alone whether the United States will ratify it, an act that would require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate.

Sending such mixed signals is a grave mistake. The Arms Trade Treaty is consistent with America’s national security interests, foreign policy goals, business interests and moral traditions, which is why United States negotiators worked so hard to create it.

So what’s behind the foreboding whispers? Some truly cynical domestic politics, it would appear.

Those opposed to the accord have misrepresented what it does, suggesting that it would somehow infringe on American gun owners’ rights. It would do nothing of the kind.

via Tell the Truth About the Arms Trade Treaty – NYTimes.com.

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Denouncing Serbian Tilt, U.S. Boycotts U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com

A US walkout at the General Assembly over Serbia’s (mis)use of the Presidency:

Canada and Jordan joined the United States in the boycott of the two-day meeting, which included a General Assembly debate and panel discussion, while some other nations also criticized the meeting and sent low-level representatives. The event seemed to reopen emotional scabs about responsibility for ethnic slaughters committed in the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s, including the Srebrenica massacre, Europe’s worst mass killing since the Holocaust.

Critics took offense that the General Assembly president, Vuk Jeremic, whose antipathy toward the Yugoslavia tribunal is well known, had invited as keynote speaker the like-minded president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, but not the victims of Balkans atrocities who have found some measure of redress from the tribunal’s prosecution

via Denouncing Serbian Tilt, U.S. Boycotts U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com.

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Who Will Join the Club of Nations Next?

Very interesting feature that muses on an upcoming “nation-state baby boom” from Frank Jacobs and Parag Khanna – The New World – Interactive – NYTimes.com.

NYT | The New World

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E-Notes: Sovereignty Or Submission: Liberal Democracy or Global Governance? – FPRI

Ever wonder what a smart “domestic” critic of the UN sounds like?  Here’s one from a small but notable New York-based think tank on the perils of global governance and why diminishing sovereignty can be problematic:

If the forces of global governance are able to establish some form of global authority as they envision it, liberal democracy would be replaced by post-democracy. But, it is highly unlikely that such a utopian vision would succeed on its own terms, particularly since there is little support for “sharing sovereignty” among rising Asian states (China, India) and among other nations such as Russia, Brazil and Turkey. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that globalist ideology and material interests could obtain a critical mass of influence among opinion makers and statesmen in the West (particularly the United States).

If this happens (the globalists achieve ideological hegemony), the result would likely be not the triumph of global governance, but the suicide of liberal democracy, both in the realm of domestic self-government and in the arena of self-defense from undemocratic foes. Thus the global governance project unable to achieve success on its own terms would essentially disable and disarm the democratic state, internally and externally. The suicide process would proceed slowly, almost imperceptibly, much as the democratic states of Europe gradually, over decades, lost more and more sovereignty to the unaccountable institutions of the European Union.

In the final analysis the conflict between global governance and the liberal democratic nation-state is a moral conflict, and the side that seizes and holds the moral high ground will prevail. The conflict raises the oldest issue of politics: Who should govern? The fundamental question beneath this global struggle is: Do Americans (and other free peoples) have the moral right to rule themselves? The globalists say no, sovereignty must be “pooled.” Like the Founding Fathers yesterday, the Philadelphia sovereigntists today, say yes. It is time to prepare for the long struggle ahead.

via E-Notes: Sovereignty Or Submission: Liberal Democracy or Global Governance? – FPRI.

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Secret Bid to Arm Qaddafi Shows Tensions in China Government – NYTimes.com

To illustrate who tricky arms regulation and agreements can be, China’s erstwhile involvement arming Qadaffi may show how one hand in China doesn’t know–or can’t fully control–what the other hand is doing.

At a United Nations conference in Indonesia this summer, an official of the agency that oversees China’s weapons industry ticked off the hurdles that any proposal to sell Chinese weapons abroad must clear. Among them: arms sales must not alter another nation’s internal security. They must not violate United Nations arms embargoes. And they must win government approval.

via Secret Bid to Arm Qaddafi Shows Tensions in China Government – NYTimes.com.

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IntLawGrrls: Great Expectations

Earlier discussions of the upcoming UN vote on a Palestinian State involve strategic voting consideration. But according to IntLawGrrls, “The legal consequences of Palestinian statehood might not be as earth-shattering as might be expected.”  Follow the link for a thorough analysis.

Andrew Sullivan reviews a number of arguments and concludes that killing the “strategy” of Palestinian Statehood is a step backward in light of the Arab Spring–and contrary to what the US should be doing.


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Libya Next: What to Do with Qaddafi?

The obvious answer is “find Qaddafi” but assuming the rebels are successful, talk is already abounding on the specifics of a trial–namely would it be held in Libya as a national model (Think South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission) or the ICC in the Hague.  David Kaye argues for the latter:

An I.C.C. trial in Tripoli would have practical and symbolic benefits. Most important, it would be closer to the communities that most need to see justice done. It could involve more Libyans in the proceedings, a step that would afford the I.C.C. greater access to victims and give young Libyan lawyers and other professionals experience with a modern system of justice. It would give the I.C.C.’s staff members an opportunity to engage directly with the society for which they are doing their work, while serving as a platform for the international community to help Libya rebuild the rule of law.

via What to Do With Qaddafi – NYTimes.com.

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Sanctions, Suspension, and the Start of a Global Response to Libya

With its citizens largely evacuated, Western nations had a freer hand to talk tough at the UN today.  On Feb. 23, Turtle Bay blogger Colum Lync proffered a laundry list for the Security Council to frustrate Qaddafi.  How did they do?

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed travel and asset sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and close aides, ratcheting up pressure on him to quit before any more blood is shed in a popular revolt against his rule.

It also adopted an arms embargo and called for the deadly crackdown against anti-Gaddafi protesters to be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution of anyone responsible for killing civilians.

via U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi | Reuters.

The Human Rights Council called a unique special session to suspend Libya–a bold and unique action for the oft-criticized body.

Here are a few other slices at getting a sense of the debates that are now happening–and will be coming around the corner in the days and weeks ahead:

  • The politics of the now-former-Qadaffi ambassador-turned-free agent, Western discussions, and the role China played (i.e., not using its veto as one of the P5) are explored in the Times.
  • The Peterson Institute for Int’l Economics has an interesting chronology of events, as well as an economic impact assessment of sanctions on Libya among other items.
  • David Bosco asks “where are the emerging powers” that we seem to hear about constantly? He answers that pershaps Western “slippage in relative power hasn’t yet worked its way into foreign policy” and perhaps there are major policy differences in viewing Libya’s situation.
  • Both in terms of global leadership (and domestic policy skirmishes) the debate is on for “Who Lost Libya?”–with all of its moral, ethical, and even political (2012, anyone?) implications.  Biden quotes former Congressman Tom Lantos (with former State Dept planner Anne-Marie Slaughter tweeting for action) and  on the other side Hitch writing in Slate that President Obama’s response was “dithering and pathetic,” (and he’s not alone).


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Serbia Tested as War Crimes Suspect Roams Free – NYTimes.com

Big questions about the future of Serbia in Europe:

These developments make this a seminal moment not only in the search for Mr. Mladic but also in Europe’s often agonized deliberations over how much to encourage the manhunt in the face of deeply conflicting priorities. In the name of unity and stability, should Europe put a premium on rehabilitating a battered country that became a pariah state in the Balkan wars of the 1990’s?

Or in the name of its human rights tradition, should Europe first require a friendly Serbian government to make the politically difficult arrest of a man blamed for the worst ethnically motivated mass murder on the Continent since World War II? That involved the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, an enclave under the failed protection of United Nations peacekeepers from the Netherlands.

via Serbia Tested as War Crimes Suspect Roams Free – NYTimes.com.

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Hunting for Liberia’s Missing Millions – NYTimes.com

Update on The Hague trial from the Special Court  for Sierra Leone:

How much money did Charles G. Taylor, the deposed president of Liberia, siphon out of his destitute, war-shattered country, and where is it?

via Hunting for Liberia’s Missing Millions – NYTimes.com.