Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - 1

The concept of international law, which has become so popular in the last few years lacks somewhat in definition. What exactly is international law that Britain is supposed to have broken when it joined the coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq? Who defines it, on what basis and who enforces it?

Ask those wide-eyed supporters of international law and they will tell you solemnly that it ought ot be the UN. Do they know anything about the UN, its structure, its various committees? Well, errm, no. But they think it is a lovely idea. All those people getting together in an international or supranational (not too clear on that one) organization to promote peace and happiness. When confronted with the dual problem of the UN - its members and its structure, these people prefer to hide behind emotional platitudes. International must be good, right? Well, no. International and transnational means run by unaccountable international bureaucrats and lawyers. On what basis are these people, who have never managed to sort out the various corruption scandals in the UN and its sub-organizations, are going to create an international legal system that can make judgements about the actions of democratically elected governments (the only ones who are likely to obey)? And who is going to enforce those legal judgements?

There is also the problem of the members. Of the 192 full members of the United Nations rather less than half can be said to be free and democratic with at least a nodding acquaintance with human rights.

Which brings me to the latest news from that wonderful organization: Libya has been elected unopposed to the UN Human Rights Council. UN Watch reports:
Despite the determined efforts of UN Watch and its supporters, Libya won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council today in uncontested elections held at the General Assembly in New York, as did other rights abusing countries including Angola, Malaysia, and Qatar. UN Watch headed a global coalition of 37 human rights groups that fought to defeat the Qaddafi regime's candidacy, with appeals urging the US and the EU to lead an opposition campaign.

In the end, not a single country was willing to speak out against the oil-rich dictatorship. Libya's 155 votes were far more than the required 97, but also the least received of today's 14 candidates, all of whom ran unopposed for the 14 available seats.
As indicated here, Libya is not going to be the lone voice for human rights violations (for the right reasons, naturellement) on that Council. In fact, one could rejoice that Libya got only 155 votes while such wonderful examples of countries that believe in freedom and human rights as Angola got 170 and Thailand (that one really made me laugh) got 180.

UN Watch reckons that 40 per cent of the Council's members actually have anything resembling human rights within their borders. I wonder where they place Moldova.


  1. the problem with rightwing colonialist like u is that u cant live with the un and u can't live without it.
    if it serves u'r colonial ambitions (like the first gulf war, using the veto, legitimising aggresion), all is cool.
    but on the other hand if it hinders u'r empire building u throw a strop.
    u can't have it both ways.
    there are a set of international standards that we have agreed to go by (not forced on the uk).
    if we don't like them there is nothing stopping us leaving.
    but that will mean losing the veto.
    a rightwing dilema,

  2. There must be half a dozen different legal systems in use around the world: how can they be synthesised into an common UN form, and who would carry out the work and get it approved and on what basis? Assuming that one of the sentences is other than a fine who incarcerates the criminal and where is the prison? Will it be a special facility built by the UN with its own staff of warders, how will they occupy their time if much of the prison is empty?

  3. typical rightwhinger. wouldn't find an answer so ends up disregarding the comment.
    this is exactly why the whole world was against the war.
    your pathetic.