Latest activities of group Global Security and War The Guardian Aiding Terrorism By Publishing Snowden's Revelations2013-12-04T08:54:22Z<p>The Guardian's editor,&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Alan Rusbridger, appear</a>ed&nbsp;before the House of Commons home affairs select committee on December 2, to answer questions about his newspaper's publication of intelligence files leaked by Edward Snowden. Unlike the directors of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, who&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">gave evidence recently before the intelligence and security committee</a>, Rusbridger will not be provided with a list of questions in advance.</p> <p>There are at least five legal and political issues arising out of Snowden's revelations on which reasonable opinion is divided. These include whether Snowden should enjoy the legal protection accorded a whistleblower who reveals wrongdoing; whether his revelations have weakened the counter-terrorism apparatus of the US or the UK; whether, conversely, they show the need for an overhaul of surveillance powers on both sides of the Atlantic (and even an international agreement to protect partners like Germany); whether parliament has been misled by the services about the extent of intrusive surveillance; and whether the current system for parliamentary oversight of the intelligence and security services is sufficiently robust to meet the<a rel="nofollow" href=";LangID=E">international standards laid down by my predecessor at the UN, Martin Scheinin</a>.</p> <p>These questions are too important for the UN to ignore, and so on Tuesday I am launching an investigation that will culminate in a series of recommendations to the UN general assembly next autumn. As in the case of&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Chelsea Manning</a>, there are also serious questions about sensitive information being freely available to so many people. The information Snowden had access to, which included top-secret UK intelligence documents, was available to more than 850,000 people, including Snowden &ndash; a contractor not even employed by the US government.</p> <p>There is, however, one issue on which I do not think reasonable people can differ, and that is the importance of the role of responsible media in exposing questions of public interest. I have studied all the published stories that explain how new technology is leading to the mass collection and analysis of phone, email, social media and text message data; how the relationship between intelligence services and technology and telecoms companies is open to abuse; and how technological capabilities have moved ahead of the law. These issues are at the apex of public interest concerns. They are even more important &ndash; dare I say it &ndash; than whether&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Hugh Grant's mobile was hacked by a tabloid</a>.</p> <p>The astonishing suggestion that this sort of journalism can be&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">equated with aiding and abetting terrorism</a>&nbsp;needs to be scotched decisively. Attacking the Guardian is an attempt to do the bidding of the services themselves, by distracting attention from the real issues. It is the role of a free press to hold governments to account, and yet there have even been outrageous suggestions from some Conservative MPs that the<a rel="nofollow" href="">Guardian should face a criminal investigation</a>.</p> <p>It is disheartening to see some tabloids give prominence to this nonsense. When the Mail on Sunday took the decision to&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">publish the revelations of the former MI5 officer David Shayler</a>, no one suggested that the paper should face prosecution. Indeed, when the police later tried to seize the Guardian's notes of its own interviews with Shayler, Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice, refused to allow it to happen &ndash; saying, rightly, that it would interfere with the vital role played by the media to expose public wrongdoing.</p> <p>When it comes to damaging national security, comparisons between the two cases are telling. The Guardian has revealed that there is an extensive programme of mass surveillance that potentially affects every one of us, while being assiduous in avoiding the revelation of any name or detail that could put sources at risk. Rusbridger himself has made most of these decisions, as befits their importance. The Mail on Sunday, on the other hand, published material that was of less obvious public interest.</p> <p>An even closer example is&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Katharine Gunn, the GCHQ whistleblower</a>who revealed in 2003 that the US and UK were&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">spying on the missions of Mexico and five other countries</a>&nbsp;at the UN, in order to manipulate a vote in the security council in favour of military intervention in Iraq. Like Snowden, her defence was that she was acting to prevent a greater wrong &ndash; the attempt to twist the security council to the bellicose will of the US and UK. She was charged under the Official Secrets Act, but the case was dropped because the director of public prosecutions and attorney general rightly concluded that no jury would convict Gunn.</p> <p>There can be no doubt that the Guardian's revelations concern matters of international public interest. There is already an intense debate that has drawn interventions from some of the UK's most senior political figures. Wholesale reviews have been mooted by President Obama, Chancellor Merkel and Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister. Current and former privy councillors and at least one former law officer have weighed in.</p> <p>In the US, a number of the revelations have already resulted in legislation. Senior members of Congress have informed the Guardian that they consider the legislation to have been misused, and the chair of the US Senate intelligence committee has said that as a result of the revelations it is now "abundantly clear that&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">a total review of all intelligence programmes is necessary</a>".</p> <p>In Europe, and particularly in Germany (which has a long and unhappy history of abusive state surveillance) the political class is incandescant. In November the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Council of Europe parliamentary assembly endorsed</a>the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">Tshwane International Principles on National Security and the Right to Information</a>, which provide the strongest protection for public interest journalism deriving from whistleblowers. Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, took part in the drafting of the principles and has endorsed them as an international template for resolving issues such as the present one. Many states have registered serious objections at the UN about spying, and there are diplomatic moves towards an international agreement to restrict surveillance activity. In direct response to the Guardian's revelations, Frank La Rue, the special rapporteur on freedom of expression, has brought forward new guidelines on internet privacy, which were adopted last week by the UN general assembly.</p> <p>When it comes to assessing the balance that must be struck between maintaining secrecy and exposing information in the public interest there are often borderline cases. This isn't one. It's a no-brainer. The Guardian's revelations are precisely the sort of information that a free press is supposed to reveal.</p> <p>The claims made that the Guardian has threatened national security need to be subjected to penetrating scrutiny. I will be seeking a far more detailed explanation than the security chiefs gave the intelligence committee. If they wish to pursue an agenda of unqualified secrecy, then they are swimming against the international tide. They must justify some of the claims they have made in public, because, as matters stand, I have seen nothing in the Guardian articles that could be a risk to national security. In this instance the balance of public interest is clear.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This Op-Ed was first published in The Guardian on December 2, 2013</p>The Future of Nanotechnology in Warfare2013-07-04T16:08:57Z<p><img style="vertical-align: baseline; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" width="700" height="467" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In April this year, the US Navy announced the deployment of a laser weapon on the USS Ponce. The YouTube image they posted at the same time demonstrates how effective it is to damage an unmanned aerial vehicle. The image might have excited some sci-fi movie fans around the world, envisioning the arrival of futuristic weapons, like 'phasers' familiar to 'Trekkies'. It is expected that these laser weapons will be more widely deployed with the aim to strengthen defence capabilities against missiles, artillery and mortars.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The revelation of a laser weapon was not unexpected. Indeed, the history of the pursuit of laser weapons is as old as the nuclear arms race during the Cold War. The idea of laser weapons was already hinted as a potential counter-strike onto a nuclear ballistic missile. Although the technical details of the laser weapon announced for deployment is kept secret, there is little doubt that the rapid development of nanotechnologies over the last decade has enabled significant improvement of different components of the solid state laser system that makes it deployable as a weapon.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A greater excitement may be forthcoming with the prospect of further fine-tuning of the laser technology to provide a wider range of tactical options - like a weapon that can be set for 'stun' up to 'kill'. Even the existing laser weapon the US Navy announced for deployment has the ability of limiting the damage to the targeted aircraft, rather than destroying it like with a missile. Ethicists may envision the arrival of a more humane warfare in the near future where a less lethal force will always be used prior to lethal means.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The law currently does not require such gradual application of force. However, it could well be adopted as government policy for a specific operation from political or ethical considerations. Interestingly, though, the law may oblige soldiers not to use such less lethal means if there is a chance of civilian casualties, for example, as a result of disabling an aircraft that then clashes into a town.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The laser weapon is not the only armory that benefits from the rapid development of nanotechnology. There are scientists who are working to create Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, which undoubtedly attracts obvious military interests, or what is called 'nano air vehicles' - the prototype 'Hummingbird' developed by the US DARPA could be further miniaturized into a small insect-like combat vehicle. The use of nanotechnology thus enables existing weapon technologies - such as stealth, precision-guided munitions and UAVs - to evolve into their ultimate form. It will provide soldiers with the ultimate protection of invisibility during combat operations or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities. Commanders will be able to assassinate the target anytime, from anywhere, with mechanical precision without a margin of error.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Using those 'smart weapons' will certainly help reduce, or even completely avoid, civilian casualties. In that sense, future warfare may well be expected to become more humane. But at the same time, the ability to kill someone without facing that individual and without giving him or her any chance of survival may test where our human conscience stands. Already, the US targeted killing policy has caused controversies over its legal, political and ethical implications, and on 31 May this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, recommended a moratorium on lethal autonomous robotics.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The greater protection of force - by using UAVs, cyber or invisibility cloak - means also that the political costs traditionally associated with the resort to force in foreign territories will be significantly reduced. The use of these new technologies enable disguised forms of attacks, which make it difficult for victim states, particularly the technologically inferior, to identify where the attacks originate from with certainty. The implicated allegations recently made by the US against Chinese authorities for their involvement in cyber attacks are testimony to this technical challenge. A consequence is that the technologically advanced will find it attractive to choose discreet means to deploy military forces in order to achieve their political objectives without risking warfare.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">However, the widespread introduction of nanotechnology into weaponry may not end with this familiar, simplistic picture of military asymmetry between the technologically advanced and the less advanced. Nanotechnology is not a difficult technology to acquire. Indeed, many less developed states and emerging economies such as Mexico, Thailand, India and Iran are investing heavily on nanotechnology industries. China is also one of the leading states in nanotechnological developments.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">There is no clear indication as to the extent these investments are poured into weapons development. The challenge for them would rather be acquisition of the existing weapons technologies, like stealth, laser and robotic technologies, with which applications of nanotechnology need to be combined. But at the same time, these countries are not bound by the same resource constraints as the major weapons producers, such as large-scale infrastructure and manufacturing contracts. In that sense, emerging economies could take advantage of a greater flexibility in developing entirely new armament manufacturing capabilities that effectively incorporate latest nanotechnological innovations and developments.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Nanotechnology may thus serve as a potential 'game changer' in the military landscape. One of the major factors that are currently hindering military applications of nanotechnology is the pre-existing military mindset. Weapons development is driven, in large part, by the current operational needs, rather than future operational possibilities. Nanotechnology is like a transistor - it in itself does not do any good nor harm, but the application of nanotechnology and their integration into a larger system produce novel functions and effects.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is expected that nanotechnology will soon be found in many consumer products, which will accelerate the pace of military applications of nanotechnology in both technologically advanced and less advanced states. Utilizing nanotechnology to advance military capabilities to ultimate forms - in precision strikes or cloaking technology - may prompt us to reconsider how warfare should be defined or should be fought. The 'United Federation of Planets' in the world of <em>Star Trek</em> made a conscious decision not to develop or use cloaking technology, perhaps a reflection of Gene Roddenberry's philosophy of what the future space warfare should look like. It may be that we are only standing at the verge of this philosophical debate to reconsider the fundamental meaning of warfare and the need for a modern version of the chivalric code.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #999999;">Opinions voiced by Global Minds do not necessarily reflect the opinions of&nbsp;<em>The Global Journal</em>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #999999;">Photo: reserved</span></p>Moral Machines And The Future Of Warfare2013-05-22T17:56:46Z<p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/s3/cache%2F77%2F00%2F7700828bd61cf18ce02d0662bf30345a.jpg" alt="The Future Of Warfare" width="560" height="376" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the second of a regular series inviting prominent members of academia to address key questions of global governance, international politics and the evolution of the international system, Christopher Coker &ndash; a leading scholar of international security and military philosophy &ndash; reflects upon how recent technologies are changing the face of war. As we enter a brave new world of cyber attacks and unmanned drones, Coker warns that in a bid to make war more humane, we are increasingly relying on machines to automate human virtue.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;Fifteen years after taking flight, Orville Wright predicted the airplane would make war impossible. Guglielmo Marconi thought the coming of radio would make war &ldquo;ridiculous&rdquo; &ndash; a variation on Oscar Wilde&rsquo;s idea that it would end once it became vulgar, rather than wicked. My favorite example is that of Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun, who when asked whether the invention would make war more wicked replied: &ldquo;no, it&rsquo;ll make war impossible.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It was not the case that these failed to promise a better, or even safer, world. But each new development created more problems than it solved. Unfortunately, argues the great technology guru, Kevin Kelly, problems are the answers to solutions. Once a machine is built, we soon discover that it has &lsquo;ideas&rsquo; of its own. Technology not only changes our habits, but also our habits of mind.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Maxim gun was a case in point. Far from making war impossible, the weapon in fact made it all too easy for those who possessed this technical advantage to occupy the moral high ground. Because it originated in the West, the gun was deemed to be the product of a rational society. It followed that those who did not have access to such weaponry (for instance Native Americans) were being irrational in continuing to resist the onward path of westward expansion. Inevitably, American settlers used their newly acquired weapons to make the natives &lsquo;see reason.&rsquo; And of course, it often worked.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">By 1890, the American frontier was officially closed and Geronimo, the last &lsquo;renegade&rsquo; Indian leader, finally captured. Fifteen years later &ndash; after authoring two commercially successful autobiographies &ndash; he rode in Teddy Roosevelt&rsquo;s inauguration parade. Yet, it was all to end badly. Once Western societies turned machine guns against each other, they found themselves in a moral no man&rsquo;s land of their own making.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The question we should ask, writes Kelly, is this: what does technology still want of us? Let&rsquo;s be clear &ndash; unlike human beings, technologies do not have needs or desires. But when new technologies are aggregated they acquire a collective property, just as we talk of the market &lsquo;wanting&rsquo; things. And technological advances and insights often occur at about the same time in more than one place. The evolution of technology converges in much the same manner as biological evolution. Kelly&rsquo;s question can also be seen as a variation of Richard Dawkins&rsquo; influential idea of the extended phenotype. Dawkins suggests birds and nests are one and the same. Without nests, birds could not reproduce. Poorly constructed or poorly placed nests reduce birds&rsquo; chances of reproductive success. Conversely, well-built nests dramatically increase the evolutionary odds. Likewise, we are what technology makes us. No other species has such an extensive phenotype, or, more specifically, its own imprint on the planet.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Technology is simply the further evolution of evolution, and technological evolution results in a variety of gadgets, machines, tools and techniques, which increase again this ability to advance. The latest technologies are becoming smarter and offering new choices &ndash; not only in co-operation with human beings, but for the first time in possible competition. Technology is boosting human intelligence and innovation at the very time it may be about to develop an agenda of its own. Ray Kurtzweil calls it &ldquo;the Singularity&rdquo; &ndash; the day computers become self-conscious (the Skynet scenario for fans of the Terminator franchise).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Until that day arrives &ndash; if ever &ndash; technology will continue to give us choices. Choices without values yield little but new choices. Yet they may also &lsquo;revalue&rsquo; old values, or devalue those qualities that have traditionally been held in high regard in war, such as sacrifice and heroism. It is simply too early to tell, although in my book <em>Warrior Geeks</em> I argue that this is precisely the direction in which technology is taking us. New developments are devaluing the sacramental ideal of war and persuading us to overvalue technical proficiency.</p> <p>&copy; U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Pete Thibodeau&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span><em><br /></em></span></p>The Malian Conflict and International Law2013-02-13T14:36:55Z<p>&ldquo;You are asking what would we do to the terrorists if we find them? We will destroy them.&rdquo; These were the words of French President, Francois Hollande, a few days after having launched Operation Serval, the French military intervention in Mali. The ongoing situation is far more complicated, however, than it may appear from Hollande&rsquo;s strident rhetoric &ndash; at least from a legal perspective. This article aims to provide a short account of the three main issues of international law raised by the French action: the question of the lawfulness of the intervention, the implications for international humanitarian and human rights law and the significance of the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) now underway.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/photos%2F2013%2F02%2F5faa80346403a48b.gif" alt="Mali" width="351" height="377" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>The lawfulness of the French intervention</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In order to justify legally the military intervention in Mali, France put forward three arguments: an invitation by the Malian government, its right of collective self-defense and the authorization given by the United Nations (UN) Security Council in Resolution 2085 (20 December 2012). Although this multi-layered approach may have carried weight politically speaking, invoking the three separate legal grounds considerably undermined Paris&rsquo; overall position as the first is the only one capable of rendering the intervention lawful. Indeed, neither self-defense nor Resolution 2085 can justify the actions of the French military. In politics, it seems, the validity of a set of arguments is less important than the number advocated.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Considering that France had been officially invited to intervene by Malian authorities in order to defeat Jihadists in the north of the country, Operation Serval can be considered as lawful under international law. This may seem overly simple, but as Mali gave its consent to the operation, no further legal justification was required. At the same time, France still felt it necessary to invoke the other two arguments based on the UN Charter. Yet, as these fail to strengthen the case for intervention, they instead undermine the whole legal basis. Let us explain.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Under international law, the use of armed force by a state against the territory of another state can be justified either by virtue of an authorization given by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter &ndash; the so-called collective security system &ndash; or in case of individual or collective self defense.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The system of authorization (delegation) was born from the practice of the Security Council in order to keep the collective security system alive. Indeed, given the Security Council could not launch military interventions under its own command and control (because states always refused to make available their armed forces), it decided to delegate the use of force to states. According to this system, states can lawfully launch military operations abroad as soon as the Security Council authorizes them to use &ldquo;all necessary means&rdquo; to maintain or restore international peace and security.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In Resolution 2085, the Security Council &ldquo;authorize[d] the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) for an initial period of one year, which [should] take all necessary measures.&rdquo; At first glance, France could legitimately invoke this resolution to justify its intervention in Mali. Except, that is, the military intervention had to be under African command and control. Although France had the consent of the Malian authorities in launching Operation Serval, this does not actually constitute compliance with Resolution 2085 as Africans were not in charge. The argument of the legality of the French military intervention on account of the authorization therefore falls flat.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The argument of self-defense put forward by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, also fails to hold. Under international law, several conditions must be met in order for the right of self defense to be invoked. In the case of Mali, two were not fulfilled: the &ldquo;armed attack condition&rdquo; and the suspension of the exercise of self-defense once &ldquo;the Security Council has taken measures to maintain peace and security.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In order to exercise self-defense, there must be an armed attack of certain gravity by one state against another. In other words, the armed attack must be led by a state, not a non-state actor. Although this position still remains controversial, it has been confirmed twice by the International Court of Justice in its <em>Advisory Opinion on the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories</em> (2004) and in its decision in the case <em>Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo</em> (2005). Mali was not the victim of an armed attack by a state. The military intervention was a response to acts of violence perpetrated by a constellation of non-state actors, such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and the Ansar Dine movement.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Similarly, as self-defense may be exercised only &ldquo;until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain peace and security,&rdquo; as soon as the Security Council opens Chapter VII and makes decisions in this context, the right of states to self-defense is suspended. On 20 December, the Security Council decided to act under Chapter VII by adopting Resolution 2085. From this date, therefore, the right of self-defense was suspended and could not be invoked by France.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Implications for international humanitarian law and international human rights law</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">International humanitarian law (IHL) is a branch of international law applicable in situations of armed conflict. More specifically, IHL covers two types of armed conflicts: international armed conflict and non-international armed conflict. In the present situation, some basic questions of applicability must be clarified: is there an armed conflict in Mali? If so, is it international or non-international and what are the parties to the conflict? According to precedents from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, &ldquo;an armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed force between states or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a state.&rdquo; This definition covers both types of armed conflict recognized under IHL.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Turning to the situation in Mali, there is no international armed conflict, because there is no confrontation between states. The same conclusion cannot be reached, however, in relation to the existence of non-international armed conflict. The definition outlined above contains two decisive criteria concerning the applicability of IHL in such circumstances: the intensity of violence (expressed through the term &ldquo;protracted&rdquo;) and the organization of armed groups. Analyzing the facts in Northern Mali, one could argue armed confrontations that took place before the French military intervention &ndash; between different armed groups (Islamic or rebel groups) on the one hand, and between these groups and the Malian Army on the other &ndash; can be considered a non-international armed conflict. Indeed, these groups were well organized and the intensity of the violence was sufficient to meet the criteria.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In principle, the French military intervention did not change the nature of the conflict, given French forces are supporting the Malian Army against Islamic armed groups. Since Operation Serval began, however, it has been difficult to identify precisely the members of Islamic armed groups, as they have assimilated themselves amongst the civilian population. This complicates the situation, as IHL applies to parties to a conflict &ndash; the rules cannot be applied if it is impossible to identify those parties. Challenges in identification also make it difficult to assess levels of organization. Furthermore, these groups combine both criminal and terrorist activities, placing coalition forces in a dilemma. It is difficult to know whether such individuals must be treated as mere criminals, or members of armed groups fighting on a battlefield. This point is crucial to the rules governing the use of lethal force, which are more flexible under IHL than in the international human rights law applicable to police operations. As a consequence, coalition forces have to take into account both sets of rules, applying them on a case-by-case basis.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Another question linked to the applicability of IHL versus international human rights law relates to the legal status of Jihadists potentially captured by French or Malian forces. It is well known that IHL does not allow for prisoner of war status in non-international armed conflicts due to the reluctance of states to concede such rights for non-state actors. As such, these individuals could be prosecuted for the mere fact of having taken up arms against the government. In this case, they would benefit from IHL norms linked to common article 3 of the <em>Geneva Conventions</em> and <em>Additional Protocol II</em> to the conventions, as well as judicial guarantees provided by international human rights law.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">And what if French forces decide to transfer detainees to Malian authorities? Is France obliged to apply its human rights obligations even in an extraterritorial context? As a party to the <em>European Convention on Human </em>Rights, France is obliged to respect the convention even if its forces are operating extraterritorially. This includes the obligation not to transfer any detainee to Malian authorities if there is a real risk of violation of fundamental rights, such as the prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to life and the right to a fair trial. In order to avoid any risk of violation of these rights when detainees are transferred to Malian authorities, France should sign agreements ensuring the protection of these obligations.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>The ICC investigation: consequences and concerns</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has formally opened an investigation over the possible perpetration of international crimes in Mali. The decision was made public through a press release on 16 January, roughly six months after the opening of a preliminary examination into the situation in the country. Bensouda had determined there was a reasonable basis to believe that heinous crimes had already been committed in Mali, including murder, mutilation, rape, summary executions and unlawful attacks against protected objects.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The ICC is a permanent international criminal tribunal created by means of a treaty, the <em>Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court</em>, which entered into force in 2002. Mali is one of the parties to that treaty. Whilst the ICC has jurisdiction over a variety of human actions &ndash; war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and (in the future) aggression &ndash; investigations can only be launched in certain conditions. Indeed, the Office of the Prosecutor can either open an investigation itself in relation to specific cases leading to the reasonable belief that serious crimes have been committed, or wait until the UN Security Council or a state party asks it to scrutinize a situation. In the case of Mali, the latter description fits.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is worth clarifying that states, as well as the Security Council, cannot formally refer specific &lsquo;cases.&rsquo; That is, targeting individuals or groups for potential prosecution. Instead, they can only refer &lsquo;situations,&rsquo; meaning perpetrators from the two (or more) sides of a conflict are subject equally to the scrutiny of ICC investigators. As emphasized by Bensouda in a 28 January statement, the ICC will examine both the behavior of the rebels, as well as the conduct of Malian governmental forces, the French military and AFISMA troops. Allegations of possible crimes perpetrated by the &lsquo;governmental&rsquo; side to the conflict have already been raised by human rights NGO Amnesty International, in a report released on 1 February.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is also important to remember the ICC exercises a &lsquo;complementary&rsquo; rather than absolute jurisdiction. In other words, the Prosecutor can only pursue those cases that have not been genuinely investigated or prosecuted at the domestic level, and for which the competent state is unable or unwilling to do so. One could argue that a state self-referral is in itself evidence of the inability or unwillingness of that state to prosecute domestically certain crimes, but this does not prevent the ICC from tackling the complementarity assessment in due course. Indeed, this is even more relevant given some of Mali&rsquo;s neighbors (for example, Burkina Faso) have legislated to ensure the state exercises domestic criminal jurisdiction over &lsquo;Rome Statute&rsquo; crimes, wherever carried out. Alleged perpetrators of serious crimes in Mali could potentially seek refuge in one of these countries.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yet, despite the unquestioned urgency of bringing to justice those responsible for international crimes, the ICC investigation raises at least two legitimate concerns. Firstly, the Office of the Prosecutor is once again using its authority to focus on the African continent, which has been the only region providing work for ICC judges to date. Given the Mali investigation is drawing upon already scarce financial resources, this could make it harder for Bensouda to undertake new investigations in the near future &ndash; for instance, a referral of the Syrian situation. Some commentators have also pointed out that the ICC investigation is unlikely to have any deterrent effect on the parties to the conflict. This might be true in the case of the rebels, but not necessarily with regard to Malian governmental forces and the foreign troops now present on Malian territory. Arguably, ICC investigations like the one in Mali represent a positive challenge for the increased credibility and effectiveness of international criminal justice.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>The authors would like to express their gratitude to Professor Paola Gaeta for her kindness and assistance in contributing to helpful discussion on the legal issues dealt with in this article. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em><span style="color: #808080;">Opinions voiced by Global Minds do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Global Journal.</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #333333;">Related articles:</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #808080;"><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Framing an Intervention in Mali</a>&nbsp;<span style="color: #333333;">by Julie Mandoyan for <em>The Global Journal.</em></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #808080;"><span style="color: #333333;">Photo &copy; DR</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #808080;"><br /></span></p>The Road to Ruin2013-01-23T08:00:17Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/photos%2F2013%2F01%2Fe5a30322b9a25246.jpg" alt="Roads to Ruin- Syria " width="300" height="300" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad, David W Lesch, Yale University Press, $28.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">David W Lesch, a historian specializing in the Middle East, is among the handful of Westerners to have gained exclusive, private access to one of the world&rsquo;s most elusive and despised leaders: Bashar al-Assad. An informative and personal account, <em>Syria</em> tracks the early rise of the young ophthalmologist &ndash; once nicknamed &ldquo;The Hope&rdquo; &ndash; before a deluded decline,culminating in one of the bloodiest repressions in recent history.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">An easy read, the book showcases the sympathy brought about by the author&rsquo;s former proximity to Assad, though he remains clear and carefully nuanced when charting the internal transformation and foreign power-play that accompanied the decline of the regime. Lesch is particularly successful in his description of the violent turn that has commanded international attention over the last year and a half, documenting the behind-the-scenes activities of a man who did not so much change the system as be himself changed by it.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Unsurprisingly, Lesch&rsquo;s outlook for Syria is as dire as his disappointment: a failed state with extremist elements situated on Middle East fault lines. Ultimately, the book offers an insightful look into a nation caught in a tragically inevitable downwards spiral. &ldquo;When a domestic threat appears, there is a push button response of quick and ruthless repression,&rdquo; Lesch writes. &ldquo;The real story&hellip; would have been if Bashar had not pressed that button.&rdquo;</p> <p>- CT</p> <p><span><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Subscribe</a>&nbsp;or order a copy of&nbsp;</span><em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">The Global Journal.&nbsp;</a></em></p>My Darling, Come Back To Me: Burma's Last War2012-11-02T17:02:22Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F93%2F79%2F93791b14d790227089a96bb4ef995838.jpg" alt="Burma's Last War" width="580" height="385" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">While the world&rsquo;s attention is diverted by Burma&rsquo;s tentative steps towards political reform, the plight of the country&rsquo;s ethnic minorities remains an issue of enduring concern. Though some secessionist groups have managed to reach peace agreements with a junta-dominated civilian government, the Kachin have seen a shaky 17-year ceasefire come to an abrupt end. Wedged between the borders of India and China, a fierce military campaign continues to displace tens of thousands in a region rich with jade, gold, timber and hydropower potential.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">It was a Friday night in Laiza and a few students had gathered for dinner. They were watching television, where a Burmese channel was broadcasting live a speech delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi at Yale University. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke in the soft, yet determined and righteous tone that had made her famous around the world. She explained how she wished she had listened more carefully to her piano teacher, so she could have played better later, during her years of house arrest.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The students did not understand every word. Aung San Suu Kyi was speaking in English and they lived in one of the most remote parts of Burma, far away from Rangoon&rsquo;s intelligentsia &ndash; indeed, much closer to China. But the sole fact that she could express her views freely in an American university symbolized the major changes Burma was undergoing. The Burmese have gained many new liberties in the last two years, a shift very few had expected from one of the world&rsquo;s most repressive military dictatorships.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This sounded a little incongruous, however, to the students, as besides the voice speaking on television, one could also hear another sound that night. It was the impact of mortars falling just a few kilometers out of town.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">While most of Burma is getting back on its feet, Kachin State has slid into a war that has now lasted over 12 months. After a 17-year ceasefire, fighting broke out last June in the country&rsquo;s northernmost state, a place of remote hills wedged between the Chinese and Indian borders. The conflict has only intensified since, with Burmese troops making significant progress.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As of early October, the Myanmar Army was approaching Laiza, the capital of the insurgency. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was under enough pressure to move its general staff from a hilltop two or three kilometers away from the town to a more central location. The leadership was now based at the Laiza Hotel, officially, out of convenience. More likely, however, the group saw the Chinese border &ndash; only 30 meters away &ndash; as insurance against any artillery attack. Shooting &ndash; literally &ndash; at the border would have entailed heavy diplomatic repercussions. The room price was still displayed in the hotel&rsquo;s main lobby &ndash; 185 yuans per night &ndash; but from the second floor there was no doubt this was a time of war, not tourism: sandbags were piled up in the corridor, in case of attack.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the fourth floor, what was probably a ballroom in normal times had been converted into a national emergency room, with military maps covering the walls. A banner hung above the stage: &ldquo;Lord is our victory. Victorious journey of our operations. Central command war office.&rdquo; The colors matched those of the Kachin movement&rsquo;s flag: half red, representing blood that had been shed; and half green, representing both the dense local forests, as well as the region&rsquo;s jade mines. It could not have summed up local dynamics any better.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On a map, Maran Zau Tawng, the KIA&rsquo;s Research Director, outlined the current situation: national forces were trying to open a route to take Laiza. To do so, they had first tried to push through Laja Yang, 12 kilometers west on the road in question. The enemy was launching 105 mm artillery fire on this small village from three different locations &ndash; west, south and north &ndash; to create space. &ldquo;These weapons, they&rsquo;re supposed to be used against foreign countries,&rdquo; said another man. Hundreds of infantry troops were on the move from other parts of Burma by boat.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To read the full report,&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">subscribe or order a copy of The Global Journal.</a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">by Harold Thibault</span></p>Between Ideology and Faith2012-10-29T18:48:09Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F77%2F07%2F7707d90b96a505e11d3ae684732b40b8.jpg" alt="Islam and Islamism" width="393" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Islamism and Islam Bassam Tibi Yale University Press &pound;20.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Bassam Tibi, a prominent Islamic Reformist scholar has decided to conclude his 40 year academic career with an attempt to explain a significant distinction between Islamism as a highly political and ideological movement, and Islam as faith. In <em>Islamism and Islam</em>, Tibi provides an engaging interdisciplinary discussion about the incompatible nature of Islamism and Islam. To support this argument, Tibi opens with the assertion that Islamism &ldquo;is based not on the religious faith of Islam, but on an ideological use of religion within the political realm.&rdquo; He proceeds to make the bold statement that Islamism is totalitarian, undemocratic and anti-Semitic, whereas Islam is the complete opposite. In other words, the post 9/11 world is being shaped not by Islam, but by a &ldquo;politicized ideology.&rdquo; Misunderstanding this may have serious consequences for grasping the new global &ldquo;challenge of irregular warfare,&rdquo; and as a result for preventing the expansion of fundamentalist ideology. Although the book is highly controversial, and is likely to face substantial criticism from target audiences in the West and members of the Ulema, there seems to be a light of hope that the arguments presented may spur &ldquo;inter-civilizational&rdquo; dialogue between the West and liberal-civil Islam in setting the global security agenda. However, Tibi&rsquo;s somewhat na&iuml;ve attempt to bring the world&rsquo;s bipolar constituencies together in dealing with Islamism &ndash; the inherently alien ideology to Islam &ndash; still remains unclear.</p> <p style="text-align: right;">&ndash;Z. K.</p>$16 Billion to Sustain Afghanistan's Post-NATO Future2012-10-24T15:41:23Z<p style="text-align: justify;">Major donor countries pledged $16 billion in development aid to help Afghanistan sustain its progress to date at the Tokyo Conference (8 July). Their main concern is to prevent economic and security relapses following the 2014 withdrawal of NATO forces.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Although situation in Afghanistan has significantly changed since the first Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan (2001), the country remains fragile, said Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: &ldquo;failure to invest in governance, justice, human rights, employment and social development could negate investment and sacrifices that have been made over the last 10 years.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />The funds are pledged on several conditions requiring substantial reforms. In the first place, donors require improving financial governance to fight the widespread economic corruption in the country. Further, Afghanistan will need to promote democratic principles. &ldquo;That must include fighting corruption, improving governance, strengthening the rule of law, increasing access to economic opportunity for all Afghans, especially for women,&rdquo; said United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.<br /><br />In the meantime, 14 civilians and seven NATO military personnel were killed in a weekend (July 8) roadside bombings in eastern and southern Afghanistan.&nbsp;<br /><br />(Photo &copy; AFP)</p>Uzbekistan Quits Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization2012-10-24T15:39:11Z<p style="text-align: justify;">In an official note (June 28) to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Uzbekistan declared suspension of its membership in the CSTO. The decision to withdraw from the Russian-led security agreement reportedly related to Uzbekistan&rsquo;s intentions to improve its bilateral ties with the United States. Among other reasons, Uzbekistan authorities claim that they are not satisfied with the CSTO&rsquo;s strategic vision vis-&agrave;-vis Afghanistan and with strengthening military cooperation between CSTO member states.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It should be noted that Uzbekistan has suspended its participation in the CSTO for the second time; the first withdrawal in 1999 made a way for the US to set up its military air base in the South East Uzbekistan. In 2005 after Uzbek President&rsquo;s order to close the military base, Uzbekistan returned to the CSTO. The present move can be seen as in that Uzbekistan is interested in having the US military presence back in its territory.&nbsp;<br /><br />While the CSTO is yet to come with an official response, some experts believe that the withdrawal will help the country to revive its bilateral relations with the United States, particularly with the latter&rsquo;s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. The pretext for the Uzbekistan&rsquo;s decision to quite CSTO was set by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit to Uzbekistan in October 2011, when both sides discussed the state of human rights in Uzbekistan and situation in Afghanistan. The following visit to Uzbekistan of the Third Army Commander, Lt. General Vincent Brooks in November 2011 was to discuss the military equipment transfer that the US forces currently use in Afghanistan. The cooperation, according to Brooks, &ldquo;could benefit both countries, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, with the excess of US equipment from the war.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />The CSTO was established in 1992 to ensure territorial and economic security of its member states, which now include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Besides Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia also withdrew from the alliance.&nbsp;</p>Clinton's Apologies Reopen Pakistani Corridor for NATO Trucks2012-10-24T15:33:28Z<p style="text-align: justify;">The first truck with supplies to the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has crossed Pakistan - Afghanistan border today (July 5). This happened after the United States delivered an official apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani solders killed in NATO airstrike November 2011.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">"We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again" said the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a phone call to the Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday (July 3). Soon after Mrs Clinton&rsquo;s official statement, Pakistan reopened its transport corridor with Afghanistan to allow the NATO supply trucks through its territory.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The move will reportedly improve bilateral ties between the two countries, which has historically been at a low. For the United States, which has been looking for alternative communication routes primarily through Central Asia, the resumption of the Pakistani transport corridor could significantly reduce its federal military spending.&nbsp;The cargo supply through alternative routes has added $100 million to the monthly military spending. In view of upcoming military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the amount of spending could have been significantly increased if the United States and Pakistan would not have resumed the official ties.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">While the United States clearly benefits from the resumed transport corridor, the gains for Pakistan are yet to be revealed.</p>