| N E W S L E T T E R |
Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2004
Editor: Dr. Miltiadis Sarigiannidis
Last month's editorial was about bringing back last year's memories thanks to a song. This time memories are haunted and the means to revive them is less poetic. Reference is made to the resolution adopted by the Congress of the European People's Party on the 4th of February at Brussels, condemning totalitarian communism.
"In the 20th Century, there evolved two equally inhumane totalitarian regimes- Communism and Nazism, both of which resulted in millions of victims. The defeat of Nazism in the 2nd World War allowed its crimes to be investigated and condemned, and the guilty persons to be tried. The Communist system has collapsed, but a similar international condemnation has not followed.
Having regard to the declarations of most national parliaments in the States affected;
Whereas nazi and fascist-totalitarianism has been rightly condemned internationally, but that totalitarian Communism has not yet been condemned from a moral perspective;
Whereas in different parts of the world a few totalitarian Communist regimes are still clinging to power at high cost to the well-being of their people;
Whereas the danger of totalitarian Communist regimes regaining power has not disappeared, and this ideology continues to endanger world peace and the free development of nations;
Whereas the fight against fascism has demonstrated that the demolition of a regime does not defeat an ideology, and that the memory of the crimes committed must be maintained in order to prevent revival of totalitarian ideologies and practices.
1. Underlines the fact that totalitarian Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe murdered millions of innocent people of all nationalities and damaged many others by causing serious violations of human rights, particularly: deportation of millions of people to Siberia and other locations, including the old, the sick, pregnant women, children and babies; removal of entire populations from their countries of origin; persecution and unfair trials of political opponents of the dictatorship; fixed elections leading to illegitimate Parliaments and the usurping of power and de facto imposition of such regimes; inhumane treatment and torture in concentration camps, prisons and detention centres, especially of political prisoners and detainees; persecution based on ethnic grounds, often equal to genocide; persecution based on religious grounds; persecution based on social origin; total control by the security services over the lives of people and violation of their privacy; proclaiming and promoting an ideology of hatred; forbidding freedom of association and freedom of assembly; restriction of free movement within the state and abroad; serious violations of political pluralism, of freedom of conscience, and of freedom to express political views other than totalitarian Communist ideology; denial of access to free information and complete lack of press freedom; expropriation of land and other forms of private property; support for revolutionary communist movements which fought outside of the democratic arena; Export of financial resources abroad the destiny of which remains unclear to this date but which definitely belong to the people of the States concerned;
2. considers that every victim of any totalitarian regime is equal in dignity and deserves justice;
3. is concerned about the lack of proper international evaluation to date of the huge loss of human lives and the sufferings of millions of people in Central and Eastern Europe;
4. notes that after the collapse of these regimes important historical research has been done;
5. urges the complete revelation of the truth about the crimes of communism during the period of totalitarian regimes as a vehicle for the moral resurgence of society in the post-totalitarian Europe;
6. urges the creation of an independent expert body for the collection and assessment of information about violations of human rights during totalitarian communism;
7. invites Member states and accession countries to set up national committees to investigate violations of human rights committed during the totalitarian communist regimes, which should report their findings to the independent body;
8. invites Member states and accession countries to lift all confidentiality, if such still exists, of documents which could illuminate the cases connected with crimes committed during the communist regimes, especially those committed by the secret services and political police, and encourage citizens to come forward and bear witness to such events before the above independent body and national committees;
9. on the basis of the information collected and assessed by the independent body: calls for the European Union to adopt an official declaration for the international condemnation of totalitarian communism; calls for the setting up of a European research and documentation centre, to continue collecting, assessing and publishing information about totalitarian communism, and provide a focus for further study and historical research; invites the designation of a "Day of Victims" of the totalitarian Communist regimes; creation of a memorial museum of victims of communism.
10. calls on all those who intend to assume a political function in the EU institutions to disclose their professional and political activities in former communist states and to refrain from taking up a European post if they formed part of the repressive Communist enforcement agencies, or were involved in crimes against humanity."
Antonio Cassese, International Criminal Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
A general introduction to international criminal law for students and practitioners alike and a stimulus to other scholars or practitioners to delve deeper into its principal notions. The book provides a clear and concise account of the principles governing international crimes and an outline of international criminal trials. Adopting a combination of the classic common law and more theoretical approaches to the subject, it expounds the fundamentals of both substantive and procedural international criminal law, providing a theoretical framework to all the rules, principles, concepts, and legal constructs key to the subject. It also offers extensive treatment of the most significant traditional and novel cases in English, as well as English translations of a selection of relevant judgements in Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish, demonstrating the historical and human dimensions of such cases, and providing effective illustration of the practical problems encountered by criminal courts.
Buy the book
|Bodies Without Words: Against the Biopolitical Tatoo, by Giorgio Agamben|
I have read in the newspapers that foreign citizens, when travelling to the United States on a Visa, will undergo a data registration and have their fingerprints taken. Not willing to submit myself to this treatment, I decided therefore to cancel my guest lectures at New York University for March 2004. At this time, I would like to provide reasons for my decision - a decision that I find necessary and unavoidable in spite of my sympathies for American students and professors with whom I have for many years felt connected both in friendship and professional life. This is a decision that I would hope to be adopted also by other European Intellectuals and Teachers.
Antinomies of the United Nations: Hans Kelsen and Alf Ross on the Charter, by Carl Landauer
In Towards a Realistic Jurisprudence, Alf Ross locates his theoretical position as a via media between the 'pure theory of law' of his teacher, Hans Kelsen, and the American legal realism he identified with Jerome Frank. When Ross and Kelsen came, however, to publish their respective studies of the UN Charter in 1950 - Ross' Constitution of the United Nations and Kelsen's massive The Law of the United Nations - their perspectives converge. This article places their analysis of the UN Charter in the context of their theoretical writings, but despite Kelsen's pure theory of law and Ross' Scandinavian realism, the two share a sense of law's dependence upon sanction and an understanding of the political underpinning of law's creation. And both held a strong commitment to international law doctrine, so that when they came to criticize the Charter, whether for its logical inconsistencies or the increased role of the political, they depict the Charter as ultimately representing a legal system that takes up the space of traditional international law. In their two works, Kelsen and Ross both register a tragic concern about that disappearing act of traditional international law doctrine.
From Victory to Success: Looking for Legitimacy in All the Wrong Places, by Robert Kagan
Concerns over trans-Atlantic relations, American attitudes toward the United Nations Security Council, and the future of multilateralism stem from a single, overarching issue of the post-Cold War era: the issue of international legitimacy. When the United States wields its power, especially its military power, will world opinion and, more importantly its fellow liberal democracies, especially in Europe, regard its actions as broadly legitimate? Or will the United States appear, as it did to many during the crisis in Iraq, as a kind of rogue superpower? "Legitimacy" is an intangible factor in foreign policy, but like so many intangibles it can have great practical significance.
Do States Have a Moral Obligation to Obey International Law, by Eric A. Posner
In 1960 Israeli agents kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from Argentine territory. This violation of international law sparked protests from all quarters. Israel, having accomplished its goal, apologized to Argentina, which had no great desire to draw attention to its colony of former Nazis and accepted the apology. The world turned its eyes to Eichmann's trial, and the incident was forgotten. Should Israel have refrained from kidnapping Eichmann because this act was a violation of international law? There are two ways to answer this question.
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