How Can War Crimes Be Stopped?

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 4 Dec 2023

David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Dec 2023 – Recent events make us question more than ever: why can’t something be done to stop and prevent the crimes of war?

Julian Assange languishes in prison, and may eventually die in prison, for having documented the war crimes of the American Empire. And all the relevant institutions, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc., agree that we are witnessing daily war crimes by Israel against the people of Gaza, crimes that are financed and supplied by the United States and its allies.

There are demands for justice from the International Criminal Court, but even if it condemns these war crimes, has no power of enforcement. None of the Great Powers even belongs to it.

In principle, the International Court of Justice could make a ruling according to the genocide convention, but again it has no enforcement powers.

As for enforcement powers, the UN Security Council, in theory, would be the proper jurisdiction. But its actions are vetoed by those who are committing the war crimes.

The countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have added their condemnation, but they have no enforcement powers and, in addition, two of it members have themselves been accused of war crimes: the Russians in the Ukraine and Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

Several options for enforcement are proposed by the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. They have called for a Global Day of Action on November 29th: “Millions of you have taken to the streets for the largest protests the world has seen in the last 20 years! We are grateful to each one of you who, through your voices and creative actions, have built up unprecedented grassroots power to end Israel’s genocidal war against 2.3 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip.” The Movement calls for Intensifying all strategic economic boycott and divestment campaigns against complicit corporations, and escalating campaigns to cut all ties to apartheid Israel and its complicit academic and cultural institutions as well as sports teams.

Unfortunately, there is another reaction to the war crimes, which will lead to more rather than less violence in world. For example the Guardian news service has removed from its website the letter written by Osama Bin Laden to the United States, condemning the American support for Israel, its placement of military bases in Islamic countries, and its participation in or support of other military actions or economic sanctions against people in the Islamic world.  Why? Because over a million people have gone to the letter since the Israel attack on Gaza, many of them saying that now they understand that Bin Laden was correct.

We have long said that each time the Americans kill someone with a drone attack, they sow the seeds for dozens of warriors against the American empire. And the same can be said today about how the Israeli genocide against Palestine is sowing the seeds for warriors against Israel and its supporters in the US and Europe.

So, violence begets violence.

For peace, we must change the world so that is governed justly and is able to enforce its decisions. More than ever, we are led to demand a revolutionary change in the governance of the United Nations. The UN Security Council, instead of being run by the governments with their culture of war, should be taken over by the direct representatives of the people of the world.

The people of the world do not want war. And their most direct representatives, the mayors of the world, do not want war. They have no nuclear weapons. They have no armies, no military-industrial complex.

Dear reader, if you have any influence with Mayors for Peace, based in Hiroshima, please suggest to them that they establish an alternative Security Council that issues regular press releases saying what mayors would do if they ran the UN Council. At least, in that way, we could raise the consciousness of people that another world is possible!

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Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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