An Impartial Tribunal? - Part 2.
Undermining the UN Charter to make the Tribunal possible
This reinterpretation, this revision of the UN Charter, which in fact undermines the very basis of the Charter was forcefully advocated by the German foreign minister Mr. Genscher in speeches he gave to the German parliament and to the Canadian parliament in Ottawa and by British, French and of course American ministers in speeches and memorandums to each other.
Chapter VII of the UN Charter requires that there be a threat to the peace or an act of aggression before the Security Council can make use of its special powers set out in that Chapter. It has always been interpreted to mean and was meant to mean a threat to international peace not national peace. The members of the Security Council recognized this and so had to redefine a national problem as an international one. Yet in all those speeches and memoranda there is not one compelling reason given for doing this except vague references to the collapse of the socialist bloc, and the imperative to establish a new world order.
In fact, Mr. Genscher in his speech to the Canadian parliament stated unequivocally that no nation would any longer be allowed to ignore Security Council decisions. Even if this redefinition were a legitimate interpretation of the UN Charter, which it is not, the UN Charter only speaks of economic measures and then military measures, not judicial or criminal measures.
Chapter VII has to be read in context with Chapter I of the Charter which speaks of international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character. It says nothing of humanitarian problems of a national character. It states that the UN is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of its members, a fundamental principle of international law, and the first guarantee of the right to self-determination of the world's peoples. If a people does not have the right of sovereignty, the right to self-determination is a sham. This principle is completely denied by the creation of the Tribunal. The Tribunal itself explicitly denies that this principle applies in its own statements as do its political supporters, but never, of course, in reference to themselves.
Lastly, the Charter states that nothing contained in the Charter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. This fundamental principle, put in the Charter so that the UN could not be used by some members to bully others, has also been fatally undermined by the creation of the Tribunal. The members of the Security Council, more precisely, the permanent members, now hold the opposite position, and I submit, do so for reasons connected more with imperialism not humanitarianism.
In light of these facts the Security Council's authority to create such a tribunal is in my view more than questionable. That it was created is to be credited to Madeleine Albright, who used some effective persuasion with the Russian and Chinese members to vote for its creation in return for economic consideration and with a view to controlling smaller states within their own spheres of interest.
Yugoslavia could be used
Yugoslavia was the first experiment in using a quasi-judicial international body to attack the principle of sovereignty. And as the Americans have learned so well, the best way to get your domestic population behind you as you proceed to break another country, economically and militarily is to get them to hate those in power in that country. The Serb leadership was targeted, and transformed into caricatures of evil. There were comparisons to Adolf Hitler, a comparison used with surprising frequency by the United States against the long list of nations it has attacked in the last 50 years, though sometimes they are just labeled as common criminals, like Manuel Noriega, or mad, like Ghadaffi, if the leader or the country is too small to make the Hitler comparison stick. I think Saddam Hussein was the first to be compared to Hitler, and declared a common criminal and a madman all at the same time.
The Tribunal from the outset was, as I have said, the creation of particular governments. Their motives are clear from the preliminary discussions in the Security Council on the creation of the court which focused almost entirely on crimes allegedly committed by Serbs and their leadership. Since its inception it has kept this focus. The majority of indictments have been directed at Serbs even though there is substantial evidence of the commission of serious war crimes by Croats and Bosnian Muslims