An Open Letter To Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
At the end of May Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary General, wrote enthusiastically on the UN’s Chronicle online cheering the Kampla meeting to review the Rome Statue of 1998 effectively establishing the International Criminal Court, ICC. The 11-day long Kampala conference hopes to achieve some kind of compromise between nations that have ratified the Rome Statue and joined the ICC and those on the opposite side. What is surprising though is Mr. Ban Ki-Moon’s position on the matter.
As UN head, he is supposed to be above political interests, impartial, fair, and above all standing on the same distance from all parties in offering his advice and opinion on controversial international issues of which the ICC tops the list. Yet, Mr. Secretary General chose to talk of “age of accountability” and international justice for all citing the ICC’s proceedings of couple of cases as victory for justice. He even went further in approving the current set up of the ICC as an “effective” tool for justice by referring to how as UN Secretary General he came to see the effectiveness of the ICC. Such rhetoric from the UN’s top man makes one wonder if the ICC have actually accounted for the crimes against humanity, genocide, aggression, and injustice committed so far since the ICC was established; meaning the controversial body’s jurisdiction applies.
Since the Rome Statue was signed, and in his capacity as UN secretary General Mr. Ban is has witnessed some of the most bloody conflicts and crimes of genocide brought upon weaker nations and deprived civilians in at least two still pleading hot spots: Iraq and Palestine. In January 2009, Mr. Ban personally visited the rubbles of UNRWA facilities including school, and food aid warehouse deliberately targeted by the Israeli army in which children and civilians were killed because they sought protection in those supposedly internationally protected place. In that visit Mr. Ban was visibly angry and went on the record by saying: “I am just appalled. I am not able to describe how I am feeling, having seen this site of the bombing of the United Nations compound. This was an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations.” Mr. Ban’s feelings were later justified by the finding of the mission the UN ordered to look into the matter headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone.
Yet no formal investigation has looked into the massacre in the UNRWA buildings or into other Israeli army’s massacres against the Palestinians in Gaza in 2009 such as that of al-Fakhora school in which 40 civilians were killed, and it appears none of that will happen. On the same day, the Kampala conference opened the Israeli army attacked the Gaza pound flotilla in international waters killing 10 unarmed civilians without an eye blink. In 2003, one year after the Rome Statue went into effect Iraq, a UN founding member, was invaded, and occupied outside any legal legitimacy; yet Mr. Ban chose to applaud the progress ICC made so far in controversially indicting people like President Omar Basher of Sudan and couple of former rebel leaders in DRC.
It makes one wonder if the Mr. Ban is really on the side of justice for all UN member states small and big weak or strong, poor or rich. How Mr. Ban not talk about the crimes committed in Iraq and Palestine for example which fall within the ICC jurisdiction as they took place after the ICC was established?
Does Mr. Ban really believe that international justice will be served by prosecuting leaders of the weak, poor, smaller nations while the former leaders of USA and United Kingdom enjoy impunity?
Does the Secretary General really believe that “we are witnessing the birth of new age of accountability” as he wrongly said on the UN Chronicle in his May 31st article. The world might indeed be witnessing the birth of something thing but I think it’s selective accountability where people like Basher of Sudan are indicted while George Bush, Tony Blair, and half a dozen Israeli leaders are commanded as freedom fighters, liberators, and peace makers respectively! Why does not the ICC look into the latest killing by the Israeli army of civilians in international waters which is a day light piracy for which the international applies?
It’s frustrating and rather failure on the part of Mr. Ban to take such strong stand with one sided view in support of selective justice. Such strong advocacy of the ICC, in its current form, brings to mind another rather silly idea called “Right to Protect ” which grants the so called “democratic” nations the right to militarily, if necessary, intervene in areas of conflict and civil wars without any UN authorization and legal framework. Does Mr. Ban really believe that world justice will be served better if couple of so called crimes against humanity are prosecuted while others are over looked, or does he express strong nations’ view with total disregard to smaller ones who make up the majority of the UN membership!
Mr. Ban’s position compels him to be impartial, and even role model to those who seek real international justice, and not superficial management of smaller conflicts with misleading so called “special courts” such as the ones we have seen in Rwanda, Iraq, and likely to see in other third world countries.
It’s shame to see a world leader such as the UN Secretary General join the band of punishment for the weak and impunity for the strong further degrading whatever remained of the international body’s tainted credibility.
Smaller, poor, weaker nations, and deprived millions, look for guidance from the UN and expect balanced approach to their sufferings rather than threatening and illegal acts which the UN has been condoning for the last two decades to say the least.