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To say that the United Nations human rights processes are a farce is to state the obvious rather mildly. Consider more recent and more blatant abuses by a fairly large number of so-called leaders who are all likely to escape justice in relation to their human rights abuses, war crimes and other crimes against humanity and one can only come to one conclusion that the current processes are all but dead. Grubby little characters such as Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Mugabe, Olmert, Peretz, Hassan Nasrallah, Blair, Howard and Ruddock are either still in power or are still walking around, and major changes in investigative and prosecution processes will be required in order to give the international justice system any credibility.


In terms of United Nations human rights processes, a number of changes are required in order to extract justice in relation to those breaching international laws and governances. At the moment UN member states may refer matters to UN Human Rights authorities who then may investigate at their convenience and then may refer abuses to the International Criminal Court, with amounts of political or economic pressures being applied by major states upon countries wishing to proceed with such processes. Such processes hence limit the likelihood of major offenders ever being brought justice. All one gets through the existing system is the prosecution of the more minor or venerable offenders, often from countries of little importance to permanent UN Security Council members and the US in the majority of cases.


The second process is the International Criminal Court in The Hague in Holland. UN Human Rights authorities may refer to the ICC, which is then able to proceed against offenders. It also may launch its own prosecutions. The UN generated system obviously needs a major overhaul to improve chances to catch all or most offenders and to keep political pressures out of the system.


Countries such Spain, Belgium and Germany have launched their own prosecution processes in recent years, some of which have been more successful than others. In the Belgian case, a prosecutor decided to proceed only to be thwarted by his Government under a US threat of moving the Nato headquarters from Brussels elsewhere. The German case involves an ex-Guantanamo inmate who is now chasing Rumsfeld around the place, with remarkable success thus far, through the German legal system. Spain has had cases, all with limited success.


The fundamental changes required are substantial.


The UN Human Rights Commission must be reconstituted with independent powers to investigate and prosecute cases either through member-States referral, independently in its own right or through NGO or individual complaints to it. Upon abuses having been confirmed the UNHRC would then refer cases to the International Criminal Court for process. The ICC would have the capacity to issue international warrants, further investigate cases and take referrals and evidence from external sources.

All UN human rights processes would have to take place in Geneva where facilities already exist and all cases would be heard and determined by the ICC in The Hague. Justices in each case would come from the pool of existing judges and from the international pool of qualified persons eligible to sit as judges.


Apart from the major reforms as proposed, the only other way to get results is for individuals to continue chasing offenders independently which, if conducted in accordance to local laws, can be very effective. Those cases, by handing someone a warrant, making a citizen's arrest, or handing someone a subpoena to appear can all be very effective tools.


In essence, the world community wants, and increasingly demands, protection from the likes of the various boofheads mentioned above. The pressure will now be on to make the changes demanded.



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