War Crimes Prosecutors Demand Action

Nora Boustany reported in Saturday’s Washington Post on an important and unprecedented gathering of international war crimes prosecutors that took place last week in picturesque Chautauqua, New York. Both the article (“War Crime Prosecutors Issue Call for Action”) and the joint statement of the prosecutors to the world community (see below) are worth reading for their revealing look at the past, critical view of the present, inspirational vision for the future, and unified call for international law and justice.

On this Labor Day weekend, we should all take a moment to reflect on the truly ground-breaking labor of these great men and women in places like Nuremberg and The Hague, and also prepare ourselves for the work that’s left for those of us that care deeply about creating a more just and secure world for future generations. They’ve done their part, it’s now our turn to take action…

THE FIRST CHAUTAUQUA DECLARATION

August 29, 2007

The Assembled International Prosecutors, both Past
and Present

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Hague Rules of 1907;

Remembering the legacy of our Nuremberg colleagues;

Recalling the principles of Nuremberg;

Noting the importance of the rule of law in facing down impunity;

Understanding the need for a family of nations united for peace;

Appreciating that the legal tools are now in place to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility;

Aware of the need to seek justice efficiently and effectively.

Noting that international humanitarian law still remains the cornerstone to controlling international and internal armed conflict;

Recognizing that both truth and justice create sustainable peace;

Highlighting that justice is not an impediment to peace, but in fact is its most certain guarantor.

Now do solemnly declare to the world

That ending impunity by perpetrators of crimes of concern to the international community is a necessary part of preventing the recurrence of atrocities.

That it is no longer about whether individuals agree or disagree with the pursuit of justice in political, moral or practical terms; now, it is the law.

That the challenge for States and for the international community is to fulfill the promise of the law they created;
to enforce judicial decisions; to ensure the arrest and surrender of sought individuals, and in that light;

That Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, Felician Kabuga, Joseph Kony,leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Ahmed Harun, the Sudanese Minister who organized the system of persecution and attacks against the civilians in Darfur, and all others not listed here and are sought by international justice, be arrested and surrendered to the appropriate court, tribunal or chamber;

That States are reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr.that “the arc of moral justice is long but it bends towards justice”.

That the world community take note of the words of Justice Robert H. Jackson at Nuremberg: “We are able to do away
with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law.”

Signed in mutual witness:

David M. Crane
Special Court for Sierra Leone

Sir Desmond DeSilva, QC
Special Court for Sierra Leone

Whitney Harris
International Military Tribunal
Nuremberg

Hassan Jallow
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Henry King
International Military Tribunal
Nuremberg

Luis Moreno-Ocampo
International Criminal Court

Robert Petit
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Stephen J. Rapp,
Special Court for Sierra Leone

David Tolbert,
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

— Rich Stazinski, Citizens for Global Solutions

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