Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “great regret” in August that the U.S. is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This has fueled speculation that the Obama administration may reverse another Bush policy and sign up for what could lead to the trial of Americans for war crimes in The Hague.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, though, has no intention of waiting for Washington to submit to the court’s authority. Luis Moreno Ocampo says he already has jurisdiction—at least with respect to Afghanistan.
Because Kabul in 2003 ratified the Rome Statute—the ICC’s founding treaty—all soldiers on Afghan territory, even those from nontreaty countries, fall under the ICC’s oversight, Mr. Ocampo told me. And the chief prosecutor says he is already conducting a “preliminary examination” into whether NATO troops, including American soldiers, fighting the Taliban may have to be put in the dock.
“We have to check if crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide have been committed in Afghanistan,” Mr. Ocampo told me. “There are serious allegations against the Taliban and al Qaeda and serious allegations about warlords, even against some who are connected with members of the government.” Taking up his inquiry of Allied soldiers, he added, “there are different reports about problems with bombings and there are also allegations about torture.”
It was clear who the targets of these particular inquiries are but the chief prosecutor shied away from spelling it out.
Today, November 27th, marks the beginning of 2009’s Eid al-Adha, the Muslim “Festival of Sacrifice”, commemorating the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son to God. Muslims around the world will celebrate by slaughtering animals to commemorate God’s gift of a ram to substitute for Abraham’s son, distributing the meat amongst family, friends and the poor. Eid al-Adha also takes place immediately after the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that is a pillar of Islamic Faith. Some 2.5 million Muslim faithful from all over the world descended on Mecca this year, many encountering an unusual occurance: heavy flooding due to recent torrential rains. Collected below are photographs from this year’s Hajj and observance of Eid al-Adha. (38 photos total)
Muslim pilgrims on their way to throw pebbles at a stone pillar representing the devil, during the Hajj pilgrim in Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009. The last stage of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the symbolic stoning of the devil, began on Friday. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #
Should we use taxes to deter financial speculation? Yes, say top British officials, who oversee the City of London, one of the world’s two great banking centers. Other European governments agree — and they’re right.
Such a tax would be a trivial expense for people engaged in foreign trade or long-term investment; but it would be a major disincentive for people trying to make a fast buck (or euro, or yen) by outguessing the markets over the course of a few days or weeks. It would, as Tobin said, “throw some sand in the well-greased wheels” of speculation.
This would be a bad thing if financial hyperactivity were productive. But after the debacle of the past two years, there’s broad agreement — I’m tempted to say, agreement on the part of almost everyone not on the financial industry’s payroll — with Mr. Turner’s assertion that a lot of what Wall Street and the City do is “socially useless.” And a transactions tax could generate substantial revenue, helping alleviate fears about government deficits. What’s not to like?
Dubai is finally financially bankrupt – but it has been morally bankrupt all along. The idea that Dubai is an oasis of freedom on the Arabian peninsular is one of the great lies of our time.
Yes, it has Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts and the Gucci styles, but beneath these accoutrements, there is a dictatorship built by slaves.
If you go there with your eyes open – as I did earlier this year – the truth is hidden in plain view. The tour books and the bragging Emiratis will tell you the city was built by Sheikh Mohammed, the country’s hereditary ruler.
It is untrue. The people who really built the city can be seen in long chain-gangs by the side of the road, or toiling all day at the top of the tallest buildings in the world, in heat that Westerners are told not to stay in for more than 10 minutes. They were conned into coming, and trapped into staying.
In their home country – Bangladesh or the Philippines or India – these workers are told they can earn a fortune in Dubai if they pay a large upfront fee. When they arrive, their passports are taken from them, and they are told their wages are a tenth of the rate they were promised.
They end up working in extremely dangerous conditions for years, just to pay back their initial debt. They are ringed-off in filthy tent-cities outside Dubai, where they sleep in weeping heat, next to open sewage. They have no way to go home. And if they try to strike for better conditions, they are beaten by the police.
I met so many men in this position I stopped counting, just as the embassies were told to stop counting how many workers die in these conditions every year after they figured it topped more than 1,000 among the Indians alone.
Members of one of America’s oldest Protestant churches officially apologized Friday — for the first time — for massacring and displacing American Indians 400 years ago.
“We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land,” the Rev. Robert Chase told descendants from both sides. “With pain, we, the Collegiate Church, remember our part in these events.”
The minister spoke at a reconciliation ceremony of the Lenape tribe with the Collegiate Church, started in 1628 in then-New Amsterdam as the Reformed Dutch Church.
Why does it take a religion always multiple centuries to admit a mistake?