Protecting people from their states

“The language of R2P refers to state inability or unwillingness as the catalyst for the international responsibility to protect being activated. But often the state itself is the perpetrator of atrocity crimes when security forces, meant to protect people, are instead let loose in a killing spree .” - Ramesh Thakur , Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo, was an R2P commissioner and a principal author of its report . See his comment on the Libyan situation here .

Differentiating armed struggles

"I felt that the IRA, in the context of Irish history, and Sinn Fein were a legitimate force that had to be recognized and you wouldn't have peace without them ... I [wanted] a peace agreement, a working agreement, where [Northern Ireland’s] nationalist community would feel their rights would be respected. …” - Peter T. King , chairman of the powerful Committee on Homeland Security of the US Congress, on his long-standing support for the Northern Irish Republican cause. See The Washington Post’s report here .

Once again

“ They have no mercy on civilians; the regime is attacking everything indiscriminately. “ There is a very tragic situation in the city. We were expecting the world to intervene but they have let us down .” - Ahmed , a resident of Az Zawiyah. See Al Jazeera’s report here .

Al-Jazeera’s editorial policy

“The unfolding transformations [in the Middle East] have been less of a surprise for us at Al Jazeera. Since our launch nearly 15 years ago, we have chosen to keep close to the Arab street, gauging its pulse and reflecting its aspirations . “ We refused to compromise on our editorial policy, which gives priority to the grievances and aspirations of ordinary people . Neither threats of punishment nor promises of rewards from information ministers, intelligence agencies or royal courts persuaded us to ignore or betray the oppressed and persecuted who demand nothing but freedom, dignity and...

UK warns of 'day of reckoning' for rights abusers

Following the unanimous UN Security Council resolution on Saturday, referring Libya to the International Criminal Court, British Foreign Secretary William Hague Monday warned other abusers of human rights: “The international community has come together in way it has not done before, setting aside differences … We have signalled that crimes will not be condoned, will not go unpunished and will not be forgotten. “This is a warning to anyone contemplating the abuse of human rights in Libya or any other country: Stay your hand. There will be a day of reckoning and the reach of international...

What does a UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court look like?

If a country is not a member of the International Criminal Court (such as Libya and Sri Lanka), its citizens can be prosecuted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide only if the UN Security Council refers it. The below are extracts from UNSC resolution 1970 (2011) related to the referring of Libya to the ICC: “The Security Council, “Recalling article 16 of the Rome Statute under which no investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with by the International Criminal Court for a period of 12 months after a Security Council request to that effect, “4...

Legitimate grievances?

“ In the Bush White House it was forbidden to speak of "root causes" of terrorism, as this would suggest some degree of legitimacy on the part of those who should only be thought of as mindless killers." - Robert L. Grenier , Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) from 2004 to 2006. See his comment forAl-Jazeera here .

Democracy is no panacea

“ When there is a systematic link between cultural identity and economic status, democracy becomes a problem, rather than a solution . It exacerbates cultural conflicts to the point of violence, because it provides a formal opportunity for the majority to force their will on the minority . “Whoever wants democracy under these conditions must first come up with a creative and consensual formula, according to which each cultural group would be free to live its unique cultural life without attempting to force its identity and customs on the entire citizen body .” - Lev Grinberg , Professor of...

US, China and Russia back ICC probe into Libya crimes against humanity

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted an arms embargo against Libya, a travel and assets ban on Moamer Gaddafi's regime and ordered a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed. The vote is thought to be the first time the Security Council has voted unanimously to refer a member state to the International Criminal Court. Notable is the support by the United States , Russia and China for referring Libya to the ICC. China and Russia have traditionally resisted sanctions against governments. The US, which is not a member of the ICC, abstained when the Darfur conflict in...

‘Britain must be on the right side of struggling peoples’

“The honest truth is that part of the support western governments offered the likes of President Mubarak was because he appeared to be a guarantor of stability in the region. “The central assumption of the durability of long-standing and unpleasant regimes has been swept away. This change in circumstance has left many of the old orthodoxies seeming out of date and on the wrong side of history . “ It is clear that stability based on the suppression of [popular] demands is no genuine stability at all and serves neither the interests of the people of these countries nor those of the wider...