Stuart Littlewood, uruknet.info, Dec 7, 2010
Professor Richard Falk put it most eloquently: “The idea of Nuremberg after World War Two was that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society…” The law that was applied to surviving German criminals of World War Two would not be respected unless those who sat in judgment upheld it in relation to their own behaviour.
The UN Special Rapporteur was speaking in London at a parliamentary briefing on Universal Jurisdiction, the principles of which the British government intends to undermine for the benefit of its Israeli friends.
“Universal jurisdiction is part of the struggle against impunity for the Israeli military and the country’s political leaders,” said Falk. “That impunity has been possible both because Israel itself doesn’t impose accountability on those who perpetrate violations of international criminal law and because the US, and to some extent European countries, have given a geopolitical insulation to Israel in relation to its responsibilities as a sovereign state.”
The UN’s Goldstone report and the international law panel appointed after the Gaza flotilla incident also raised the issue of impunity and accountability. Falk feels that the most effective way of implementing international law is now through the activism of civil society and through national legal institutions.