U.S. Black Sites

Background

  • After the September 11th attacks in 2001, the United States of America began a program of “extraordinary extradition and detention,” where the U.S.A. partnered with over 50 nations worldwide to abduct selected citizens of these various countries, transport them through extrajudicial means to further partnered countries in the program, and “interrogate” the individuals. These interrogations often incorporate so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,”  a U.S. government euphemism for torture, including such techniques as:
    • “stress positions”
    • mock executions
    • waterboarding
    • “pressure points”
    • “water dousing”
    • “hard takedowns”
    • “insult slaps”
    • sleep deprivation
    • forcing individuals to watch torture videos
    • forcing individuals to listen to sounds of “electric sawing accompanied by cries of pain”
    • threatening to kill or rape individuals’ family members
  • The locations where these individuals are held and interrogated are not disclosed to the public and are considered top secret by the United States government, and are known as “black sites”.
  • Black sites are operated by the United States government through the Central Intelligence Agency, or C.I.A., and simply exist outside the United States to bypass the laws concerning what is considered internationally as a blatant violation of human rights, a strategy known as “torture by proxy”.
  • Many European nations are known to have either collaborated in the transfer of individuals to, or to themselves host, black sites, including Great Britain, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Spain.
  • Several nations in the Middle East are known to have hosted U.S. black sites, including Afghanistan, where the first of its kind where created, including a location known as “The Salt Pit,” where an individual detained there froze to death after being forced to strip naked, chained to the concrete floor, and then left overnight without blankets.
  • In 2006, the Bush administration of the United States officially admitted to the existence of C.I.A. black sites, at least five years after they had been officially introduced.

Continue reading “U.S. Black Sites”

Yoga Amir Trial 1996

Background

  • Yigal Amir is an Israeli Religious extremist who assassinated Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin
    • Took place on November 4th, 1995 at the conclusion of a rally in Tel Aviv where he passionately condemned violence
      • Rabin and his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, planned to continue extremely controversial series of negotiations with Palestinian leaders
      • Just a month before the assassination, the Rabin government had signed the Oslo II accord
  • The Oslo Accords are a set of agreements between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
  • The Oslo Accords marked the start of the Oslo process
    • The Oslo process is a peace process that is aimed at achieving a peace-treaty based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, and to fulfil the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”
  • Many Jews hoped that the accords Rabin championed would bring peace to the troubled region
    • To some of Israel’s orthodox right wing, however, Rabin’s meetings with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the planned withdrawal from occupied lands were tantamount to treason
    • Few issues had so severely polarized the nation in Israel’s short history as a secular state

Continue reading “Yoga Amir Trial 1996”

Environmental Law (Paris Climate Change Agreement)

Background

  • “Environment” is a very broad field, and is the topic of more than 300 international conventions and thousands of agreements and treaties.
  • If climate change is not addressed:
  • Billions of dollars in infrastructure damage will ensue
  • Millions of people will be displaced due to rising ocean levels
  • More and more lives will be taken by extreme weather events (ex. Drought, hurricanes)
  • the Kyoto protocol is a significant climate change agreement signed in 1997 that aimed to reduce the emissions by 5% from 1990 levels by 2012
  • Not every country reached the goals set by this agreement but overall the participants reduced their emissions by between 1-5%
  • However global emissions rose by 7% between 1990-2008
  • The US (a major polluter then and even more so now) never signed on to the agreement
  • China has become one of the biggest polluters in the world since and was not a part of the agreement
  • No method or tool of enforcement was implemented in this unsuccessful treaty

Continue reading “Environmental Law (Paris Climate Change Agreement)”

Apartheid

Background

Apartheid was racial segregation under a system of legislation that began after the National Party gained power in South Africa in 1948. The all-white government enforced race laws that affected every aspect of life for non-white South Africans, including a ban on interracial marriage, the sanctioning of “white-only” jobs, separated living areas and public facilities. The minority (white south africans) were able to control the majority (non-white south africans) because of their use of technology. The Apartheid Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in 1973, by 91 votes in favour, four against (Portugal, South Africa, the UK and the US), and it declared that apartheid criminal and a violation of  the Charter of the United Nations. In 1966 the General Assembly labelled apartheid a crime against humanity and it was 1984 by the time the Security Council endorsed this determination. Even with the U.N. introducing embargoes on arms and oil, sports and consumer boycotts of South Africa, and other sanctions against loans to or investments in South Africa, its laws remained in effect for the almost 50 years. In 1991, the government of President F.W. de Klerk began to repeal most of the legislation for apartheid. Continue reading “Apartheid”

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Background

  • Since 1945 the international community has struggled with the dilemma of how to allow for the peaceful uses of atom power while stopping its destructive effects
  • Over the years more and more countries exploded nuclear devices and peace initiatives like IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) were not working to stop more countries from testing nuclear devices
  • By 1963 about 25 countries possessed nuclear weapons and concern continued to grow for the safety of the world
  • In 1961 the United Nations approved a Resolution that called on all states to make an agreement that would ban the further acquisition and transfer of nuclear weapons.
  • In 1965, the Geneva disarmament conference created the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and by 1970 it was signed and put into force with 43 parties signatures including the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States to last 25 years.
  • At a conference in 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely and further in 2000, the focus was for the nuclear-weapon states to cease the nuclear arms race including stopping nuclear testing, negotiating reductions of nuclear weapons and eventually achieving nuclear disarmament.

Continue reading “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”

Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor, Kimberley Process, and Child Soldiers.

Background

The civil war in Sierra Leone began on March 23rd 1991. It began when the Revolutionary United Front, an insurgency group intervened in Sierra Leonne in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momah government. The now former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor and his own troops, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, aided the RUF. Taylor supplied weapons and training to the RUF in exchange for rough Diamonds, also known as Blood Diamonds, the inspiration for the Movie. These diamonds were mined and collected through forced labor. The now armed and trained RUF did more than just intervene, they on many occasions used child soldiers to fight for them in special groups known as Small Boys Units. The RUF would either conscript the children to fight or simply kidnap them and force them into combat. An estimated ten thousand children took part in the conflict with 80% between the age of 7 and 14, and another 30% of the children young girls. Alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs were used on the kids during training to prepare them. Following the war, after help from the British and the United Nations to stop the violence, Sierra Leone’s President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah wrote to the UN for help in trying those responsible for crimes during the war. The UN helped set up the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The SCSL unanimously ruled that Taylor was guilty for all 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity. Three members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council were also tried and found guilty for the recruitment of children for use in combat. A final outcome of the war was the launching of the Kimberley Process, which in 2003 set requirements for distribution and production of rough diamonds. Continue reading “Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor, Kimberley Process, and Child Soldiers.”

Nuremberg Trial

Background

  • Conducted in:
    • Location: Nuremberg, Germany
    • Date: November 20th, 1945 to September 30th, 1946.
  • Members in the court:
  • Judge: Chief Judge Geoffrey Lawrence of Great Britain, seven associates
  • Defense Lawyers: Otto Stahmer, Fritz Sauter, Alfred Seitel + others
  • Prosecutors: Reps from US, Great Britain, Soviet Union, France
  • Charges: Conspiracy, Crimes against Peace, War crimes, Crimes against Humanity
  • Verdicts: 19/ 22 guilty on 1 or more counts Sentences: 12 death by hanging; the others, prison terms
  • Importance:
    • precedence created for Crimes against peace, War Crimes, Crimes against humanity
    • est. International Military Tribunal (issued Aug 8th 1945)
    • 3 categories of crimes defined: crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity

Continue reading “Nuremberg Trial”

Tipton Three

Background

  • Tipton Three was the name given to three British citizens from Tipton, England
  • Held in extrajudicial detention by U.S. government for two years in Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba
  • Three key men of the nine detained were Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, and Shafiq Rasul
  • Captured in Afghanistan for being suspected terrorists
  • Wrongly identified by the Americans as having been pictured in Afghanistan
  • Suspected to be linked with Taliban
  • Transferred to US Army Custody and transported to where they were detained
  • After negotiations between governments and British assessment of their interrogations, men were repatriated to the UK
  • FBI tried to persuade the men to sign a form admitting links with terrorism but none signed
  • Released without charge the next day
  • Filed a suit for abuse during detention
  • Geneva Convention:
    • Establishes the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war
    • Defines basic rights of wartime prisoners
    • Established protection for wounded, sick, and civilians in and around war zone
    • Defines the rights and protections for non-combatants
  • Camp established in January 2002
  • June 2006, detainees given minimal protection
  • 2009 Obama attempted to suspend proceedings there but was rejected
  • 2011 Obama signed to have detainees transferred, impeding the enclosure of the facility
  • November 2015, Obama states he is prepared to unveil the plan to close the facility

Continue reading “Tipton Three”

Tokyo War Crimes Trial

Background

After WWII, the Allies established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) to prosecute high ranking political and military officials for their crimes committed during the war. The Tokyo War Crimes Trial followed a formal declaration that mirrored the earlier Big Four agreement that initiated the Nuremberg Trials. The charter called for conviction and sentencing to be by majority vote of the judges and carefully defined crimes against peace as “the planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a declared or undeclared war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties. Continue reading “Tokyo War Crimes Trial”

Saddam Hussein Trial

Background

Fifth president and dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was in power from July 16th ,1979 – April 9th ,2003. During his reign, an estimated number of 250,000 people were killed by Saddam’s secrete police. American forces invaded Iraq in 2003 after an altercation with Iraqi forces during the Gulf war in 1991, with the support of British forces through accusation of possessing weapons of mass destruction along with alliances to Al-Qaeda the terrorist group that was responsible for the World Trade Centre  attacks on September 11,2001, Iraq had become a threat in the eyes of American politicians such as George W. Bush. Hussein was captured months after the invasion on December 13th, 2003, his trial took place under American Iraqi coalition government having been convicted with several crimes against humanity such the killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ite in 1982. Continue reading “Saddam Hussein Trial”