WORLDVIEWS

The Devastating Decline of Human-Rights Justice Across the World

The soul of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being destroyed with the disappearance of human-rights justice in the world. Everyone should be concerned if not frightened. The appointment of Michelle Bachelet of Chile as UN high commissioner for human rights, who has personally experienced injustice, offers hope that her voice will be … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

No Justice for Yazidi Women Yet: Why Not?

It has been four years since ISIS launched its genocidal assault on the Yazidi community in the Middle East. ISIS fighters have faced terrorism charges in Iraq and abroad, yet not a single ISIS fighter has been prosecuted for, much less convicted of, genocide. For the Yazidis, justice remains out of reach. In light of … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Thank You, United Nations, for Helping Victims of Nazi Experiments

As World War II ended and the horrors of the Holocaust unfolded before a stunned humanity, the victims, their families and people of good will sought to construct a new world order of justice grounded in recognition of inalienable human rights. Prof. Hersch Lauterpacht made the case for an International Bill of Rights, the first … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Protecting Victims of Slavery and Other Cruel Practices

While slavery and inhumane practices have still not been eradicated, the United Nations has done much to expose them and to help stamp them out. Its efforts continue. Early after its establishment, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights carried out a study on slavery. Its findings were riveting, and it made several policy recommendations to … Read more

For Victims of Sexual Violence in War, Stigma Can Kill

In a year in which swaths of territory were liberated in Iraq and Syria from the grip of ISIS, enabling the release of women and girls and others from the extremists, the United Nations’ annual report on conflict-related sexual violence highlights the stigma that the victims encounter — from physical pain to profound depression — … Read more

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TOPIC: WOMEN

Thank You, UN, for Protecting the Rights of Women

There is still a long way to go to uphold the rights of women worldwide, and UN Women, a department of the Secretariat, is now carrying the torch in this struggle. It builds on the efforts of the UN human-rights program going back to the earliest days of the organization. For International Women’s Day, on … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Validating Indigenous People

Indigenous people, several millions of them, live in more than 80 countries and have long suffered, and continue to suffer, from injustices. Until 1981, they had no global forum in which to appear to plead for justice and for respect of their inalienable rights. That year, the director of the United Nations Division of Human … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Janet Benshoof, Legal Activist, Seeks Help for Burma Through the Global Court

Photo of Janet Benshoof, a lawyer-activist, leads the Global Justice Center in New York.

Burma has long been a unique country not only for its otherworldly landscape of pagodas and gold-topped stupas but also, paradoxically, as an isolated country where a nationalistic military has given itself extraordinary constitutional powers. Generals, who have warped the country’s Buddhist heritage over half a century, can now attack the Muslim-majority Rohingya people with … Read more

GOINGS-ON

The UN Formalizes Its Partnership With Sant’Egidio, the Rome-Based Mediator

The United Nations has formalized its relationship with the Community of Sant’Egidio, the highly regarded Catholic membership organization based in Rome that has been focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, primarily in Africa, for 30 years. A community of 60,000 laypeople founded in 1968, Sant’Egidio has been working with the UN on mediation prospects in … Read more

BOOKS

The Secret Work on War-Crime Trials Before Nuremberg

It is widely believed that the Allied powers were in the dark about the “final solution” — the Nazi campaign to exterminate Europe’s Jews — until the discovery of the death camps, strewn with corpses and emaciated inmates, at the end of World War II. Yet Russia, Britain and the United States publicly declared their … Read more

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Checking on the Health of the International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE — At the glassy, eco-minded new building of the International Criminal Court here in the Netherlands’ capital, people who are being tried may still be called “detainees,” but make no mistake: they remain accused of such atrocities as murder, torture and child-soldier recruitment as well as gang-raping women and girls. It’s business as … Read more

South African Decision to Quit the ICC Draws Critics in Africa and Beyond

South Africa’s announcement on Oct. 21 that it intends to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has met strong opposition from civil society groups in that country and other African and international human-rights organizations. Africa has played major roles in the independent court, which … Read more

China to Reject Ruling by Tribunal on South China Sea, Official Says

China plans to reject a ruling that is due on July 12 from a Hague arbitration court regarding a long-simmering territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea. In an exclusive interview with an official from the Chinese mission to the United Nations, the official said that China would “never accept” … Read more

Khmer Rouge Leaders, Recently Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, Face New Genocide Charges

  The highest panel of judges on the joint United Nations-Cambodian government tribunal on crimes of the Khmer Rouge regime have cleared the way for a second trial of two top leaders of the Communist movement that devastated the country almost four decades ago. The new trial, completely separate from the earlier proceedings against the … Read more

Helpless Bosnia and Its Women, 20 Years After Ethnic War

  SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — “Please don’t let the world forget us again.” The plea is heard everywhere by men as well as by women in the picturesque Balkan city of Sarajevo, the site of Europe’s most destructive and sadistic conflict in more than half a century. Sarajevo was briefly in the news again … Read more

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New Protocols and Policies Tackle Sexual Violence in War

As Sunni Muslim extremists first seized strategic cities in Iraq last week, and a United Nations spokesman for the human-rights high commissioner, Navi Pillay, said that rapes had been part of the mayhem, leaving four female victims dead from suicide, the first global conference to end such heinous crimes took place in London. There, foreign … Read more

Khmer Rouge Practiced Widespread Sexual Attacks on Minorities

Khmer Rouge cadre

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Until now, sexual violence against ethnic minorities during the Khmer Rouge era in this country went largely ignored. Now for the first time, the Cambodian Defenders Project, one of the oldest legal aid organizations here, has published first-person accounts of interviews with 105 men and women from ethnic Vietnamese, Khmer Krom, … Read more

Cambodian Tribunal Confronts New Hurdles

Nuon Chea

The tangled process of bringing even partial accounting and sentencing to a close in a United Nations-Cambodian joint tribunal judging the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime that decimated the country’s population in the late 1970s and destroyed all civic and economic life, is on full display again in a purpose-built courtroom near Phnom Penh, … Read more

Congolese Rebel Leader Faces Broad Charges of Sex Crimes

Bosco Ntaganda

The first step to possibly try Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord born in Rwanda, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, began recently at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ntaganda, who turned himself in to the court last year by going to the United States Embassy in Rwanda, allegedly committed the crimes as … Read more

ICC Prosecutor Asks to Postpone Trial Against Kenyan President

Kenyatta, president of Kenya

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, has asked for a three-month postponement in the trial for the case against the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The trial, already postponed several times, was to have started on Feb. 5, 2014. Kenyatta was accused of being an indirect co-perpetrator … Read more

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