|International Law: Law of the victors|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:33|
On March 7 2003, Charles Taylor was indicted by the Special Court of Sierra Leone and on December 4 the same year, Interpol issued a “Red Warrant” (of arrest) for the former Liberian leader.
had forcefully reclaimed its colonially stolen farmlands from white occupiers in 2000. It was again Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon that insidiously and obviously backed the murder of Muammar Gaddafi and the bombardment of his Libya through Resolution 1973 at the UN Security Council in 2011.
Just four days after this resolution, Charles Taylor was swiftly transferred to The Hague, in a move quite similar in swiftness to how Libya was attacked by French warplanes, just a few hours after UN Security Council Resolution 1973 had been passed.
All in all, 91 witnesses testified, and these included 29 insider witnesses, 58 crime base witnesses and four expert witnesses.
Charles Taylor has personally charged that most of these witnesses were “paid, coerced and, in many cases, threatened with prosecution if they did not co-operate.” The Special Court is simply not interested in entertaining this possibility, as it currently seems.
Of course, this does not include atrocities perpetrated by Western armies on the lesser peoples of this world, like the reckless indiscriminate killing of tens and tens of thousands of innocent Libyan civilians in 2011, or the continuing drone bombing of Afghan and Pakistan people by Obama’s murderous forces. These are democratisation ventures and not war crimes.
The charges against Taylor included terrorism, murder, rape, sexual slavery, outrages upon personal dignity, cruel treatment, inhuman acts, recruiting child soldiers, enslavement and pillage.
Being convicted on the basis of these egregious charges makes Taylor the personification of ultimate evil, up until one is told that, in fact, Charles Taylor did not commit any of the crimes for which he was charged and convicted, an indisputable truth coming straight from the Special Court’s own acknowledgment.
The statement went on to say that Taylor had only “aided and abetted the rebels by providing them with arms and ammunition, military personnel, operational support and moral support.”
According to the Special Court, it is the rebels who committed the crimes and Charles Taylor is “individually responsible” for the criminal acts just on behalf of the perpetrators. Taylor did not deny involvement in the Sierra Leone decade-long conflict — arguing that his logic for intervention was that “without peace in Sierra Leone there would be no peace in Liberia.”
This is not different from the logic of pre-emptive war, as executed by President George W. Bush on the people of Afghanistan in 2001. But, of course, we must always remember that there is something called American exceptionalism, and that the law that prosecutes little Taylor cannot be big enough to prosecute mighty George W. Bush.
As rightly pointed out by Stephen Gowans in his recent article titled “Charles Taylor Conviction: Don’t Cross Us,” Taylor was convicted for exactly what Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron did in Libya in 2011: arming and supporting an atrocity-committing ragtag rebel army.
This is not to mention Nato’s relentless bombardment of the city of Sirte right to ground level rubble, literally leaving no stone unturned and, of course, the indiscriminate shelling of the same city and other pro-Gaddafi cities like Bali Wadi — all clear acts of war crimes.
It started way back with the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War. Atrocities committed by members of the Allied Forces only became crime once they were traced to the responsibility of the Nazis.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was also all about charging Slobodan Milosevic and his people, even where the other side had carried out similar acts of crime.
In Libya today the rule of law is just the law for those who rule, the so-called National Transitional Council, otherwise it would be indisputable to charge, try and convict the Libyan rebels of “multiple counts of murder, acts of terrorism, outrages upon personal dignity, cruel treatment and inhumane acts,” — all charges easily preferred against poor Charles Taylor, and for Libya against pro-Gaddafi officials and soldiers.
No doubt Taylor was no saint. If this special court really wanted Taylor’s personal involvement in war crimes, they should have just investigated his ascendancy to power at the expense of Samuel Doe.
He and Prince Johnson did pretty horrible stuff quite fitting to all the charges Taylor was vicariously held responsible for by the Special Court for Sierra Leon, but that cannot be investigated because then Taylor and Johnson were both carrying out US-sponsored war crimes in the service of imperialistic interests.
What is indisputably clear is that the three “aided and abetted” the rebels, “furnished them with arms and ammunition, gave them military personnel, provided operational support (especially aerial fire power), and provided them moral support.” Guilty as charged if we follow the logic of the Taylor trial.
It is just like it will not happen that George W. Bush will be dragged to some special court one day, and like it will not happen to those ruthlessly murdering Bahraini protestors and to those Libyan war criminals, certainly not to the heartless Israeli thugs that habitually kill Palestinians for fun.
the service of Western imperialism are never prosecuted, but to deter military action against Western interests.”
Zimbabwe was fighting and far less about the economic impact of the war on Zimbabwe, inasmuch as the later logic was peddled widely for propaganda purposes.
The human rights abuses alleged to have been carried out in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2008 are more of pretexts to find prosecution grounds for hated enemies of imperialism than they are a pursuit for justice — regardless of whether there are elements of truth in the allegations or not.
This is what some white South African judge is laying foundation for through a local court ruling declaring South Africa’s extra-territorial jurisdiction over Zimbabwean suspects accused of playing a part in the said abuses.
Perhaps Charles Taylor needs to be reminded that in its 10 years of existence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted 28 people from seven countries. Every single one of these people is African, despite that the lawless Iraq war was after July 2002, with the atrocity-laced Afghanistan war stretching well after this date, the murderous South Lebanon bombardment by Israel coming in 2006, followed by the indiscriminate bombing of Palestinians in 2007, the deadly Libya bombardment by Nato in 2007, not to mention the Colombia war and other conflicts like Obama’s drone attacks in Pakistan.
There are documented atrocities for each of the above listed conflicts, yet there is no single indictment on a single person outside the African continent.
If Taylor was backing Western interests in the Sierra Leonean conflict, he would today be wielding the Nobel Peace Prize in place of the conviction he is vainly trying to fight.
Africa, we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!