24 July 2011

Terrorist Attacks

In light of the recent terrorist attacks yesterday in Norway, it's got me thinking about terrorism, and what the UN can (or rather, can not) do about it.

We can see an example of what can be done in the Nuremburg Trials, where the Nazi's were tried and convicted for war crimes that were committed during the Holocaust. The jurisdiction fell to the Allied Powers (Great Britain, The Soviet Union, and the United States), as a direct result of the Declaration Regarding the Defeat of Germany and the Assumption of Supreme Authority by Allied Powers (a mouthful, I know). Although it's disputed whether this assumption of power constituted debellation, it allowed the Allied Powers the authority and means to rebuild the German State, and to hold an International Military Tribunal (as the crimes were committed by military personnel).

So, if terrorism is committed by military personnel, or a civilian working directly through the military (such as a weapons contractor or other military security force), there is jurisdiction to hold a military tribunal, by the victorious party. 

So what happens in cases like the September 11th attacks on the United States? Or the London Train Bombings, the Al Qaeda suicide bombings in Israel, the Moscow Train Bombings, or the Madrid Train Bombings? Many people think that you can just find whomever is responsible and put them on trial. Or that they can simply go to war with them, and feel justified. This is not so.  

First of all, you cannot just "go to war" with a country, and expect it be legal. The UN Security Council has in one of their charters, that you have to declare war through your respective country's government. For the United States, it would be Congress. This is the line of red tape that we ignored when we decided to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush had presidential authority to send troops without declaring war through Congress, but only for a 90 day period. Any amount of time beyond that, is subject to a Congressional vote.

There are miles of red tape surrounding this issue. Another important question to ask is this: Are terror attacks classified as civil crimes, or war crimes? Any terror attack can be viewed as an act of war, such as the terror attacks of September 11th, and they can also be viewed as a civilian matter, such as the Colombine shootings, or the the Oklahoma City bombing. Here is where you fall into another roll of red tape. 

Yet another roll can come in the form of National Boundaries. We can't just sue Canada if they decide to invade us during peace time... there's no law against that. And even if there was, I don't believe that we would sue... I believe "aggressive negotiations" would be in taken, and I firmly believe that the aggressive negotiations would result in the total annihilation of Canada... but that's just me. 

If "less than aggressive" negotiations are taken, they would be within the jurisdiction of the UN Security Council. After all... the first and second Charter Mandates require the UN : "To maintain international peace and security.... (and if necessary to enforce the peace) by taking preventive or enforcement action". But yet, the permanent members of the Security Council, due to its restricted administrative structure, have sometimes prevented the UN from fully carrying out its mandates. Which, in my soon to be professional opinion, is quite hypocritical. 

Now that I have gotten all that political garbage out of my system, I do want to express my sadness of the events, and my condolences to the families of the victims. Its a shame that anyone should ever have to die in such a way. 

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