Posts Tagged ‘Richard Falk’

Richard Falk: Whose ‘Two State’ Solution? End game or Intermission?

June 7, 2013

Richard Falk, 6 June, 2013

 From many sources there is a widespread effort to resume a peace process that has in the past led to failure, frustration, and anger, and often to renewed violence. The newly appointed American Secretary of State, John Kerry, is about to make his fifth trip to Israel since the beginning of 2013, insisting that the two sides try once more to seek peace, and warning if this doesn’t happen very soon, the prospects for an agreed upon solution will be postponed not for just a year or two, but for decades. Kerry says if this current effort does not succeed, he will turn his attention elsewhere, and that the United States will make no further effort. So far, aside from logging the air miles, seems perversely to be responsive to Tel Aviv’s demands for land swaps to allow settlement blocs to be incorporated into Israel and to promote further Palestinian concessions in relation to security arrangements, and totally unresponsive to Ramallah’s demands for some tangible signs from the Israeli government that resumed negotiations will not be another slammed door. In this vein, Kerry’s most ardent recent plea was at the Global Forum, an annual event organized under the auspices of the American Jewish Committee. Kerry told this audience that they possessed the influence to make the peace talks happen.

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Richard Falk: Investigate the Death of Arafat Jaradat

March 2, 2013

Richard Falk,  March 1, 2013

What follows is a news report prompted by my press release on the shocking treatment of Arafat Jaradat who died while being held in an Israel prison.

27 February 2013 – A United Nations human rights expert today called for an international investigation into the death of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat, who died in Israeli custody just a few days after his arrest.

“The death of a prisoner during interrogation is always a cause for concern, but in this case, when Israel has shown a pattern and practice of prisoner abuse, the need for outside, credible investigation is more urgent than ever,” stressed the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk.

“The best approach might be the creation of an international forensic team under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council,” he added in a news release.

Both the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, have also called for an independent investigation into Mr. Jaradat’s death, which occurred on Saturday.

Mr. Falk pointed to the assessment made by the Palestinian Authority’s chief pathologist, Dr. Saber Aloul, who observed the autopsy carried out inside Israel, and found there were clear signs of torture on the body of the previously healthy, 30-year-old detainee.

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Richard Falk: An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France)

December 31, 2012

Richard Falk, 30 Dec  2012

An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France)

I am shocked and saddened that your organization would label me as an anti-Semite and self-hating Jew. It is utterly defamatory, and such allegations are entirely based on distortions of what I believe and what I have done. To confuse my criticisms of Israel with self-hatred of myself as a Jew or with hatred of Jews is a calumny. I have long been a critic of American foreign policy but that does not make me anti-American; it is freedom of conscience that is the core defining reality of a genuinely democratic society, and its exercise is crucial to the quality of political life in a particular country, especially here in the United States where its size and influence often has such a large impact on the lives and destiny of many peoples excluded from participating in its policy debates or elections.

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Richard Falk: Stop Warmongering in the Middle East

January 21, 2012

By Richard Falk, MWC News, Jan 20, 2012
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Iran’s nuclear program

The public discussion in the West addressing Iran’s nuclear program has mainly relied on threat diplomacy, articulated most clearly by Israeli officials, but enjoying the strong direct and indirect backing of Washington and leading Gulf states.  Israel has also engaged in covert warfare against Iran in recent years, somewhat supported by the United States, that has inflicted violent deaths on civilians in Iran. Many members of the UN Security Council support escalating sanctions against Iran, and have not blinked when Tel Aviv and Washington talk menacingly about leaving all options on the table, which is ‘diplospeak’ for their readiness to launch a military attack. At last, some signs of sanity are beginning to emerge to slow the march over the cliff.

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Richard Falk:The Shock Resulting from Flotilla Attack has Reinforced the Campaign to de-Legitimize Israel

June 20, 2010

Intifada Palestine, June 19, 2010

Richard Falk  the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. In 2001 Falk served on a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories with John Dugard. He is also an American Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University with a long and distinguished career in academics, politics and law. He recently gave this exclusive and revealing interview to Intifada Palestine’s Elias F. Harb .

Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Chief described the Israeli blockade on Gaza as “illegal and must be lifted” and accused Israel of Violating International Humanitarian Law, Also the head of UNRWA operation in Gaza, John Ging, had called upon the UN itself to begin defying the blockade and deliver humanitarian assistance since the blockade is a flagrant direct violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits collective punishment. The state of Israel has stated that the blockade of Gaza is for security purposes; although it is imposing Collective Punishment on 1.5 million, which is a breach of international law and a war crime – Editor Elias Harb

Richard Falk

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – With Prof. Richard Falk

by Elias Harb – Editor Intifada Palestine

EH: Professor Falk, what is the legality of the Israeli blockade in Gaza in accordance with the San Remo Manual on International Law applicable to armed conflicts at Sea?

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Israel criminally accoutable

June 2, 2010

By Richard Falk (UN Rapporteur for Palestine)

Countercurrents.org, May 31, 2010

This incident should serve as a wakeup call for a complicit international community. There are three political imperatives that need to emerge with a sense of urgency: condemnation of the Israeli attack and an accompanying demand for the immediate end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, appropriately by a decision in the UN Security Council; an authoritative launching of an investigation of war crimes allegations against Israel by the International Criminal Court; the widest possible endorsement and strengthening of the already growing worldwide boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign directed at Israel’s occupation policies in Palestinian Territories.

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Tony Blair stands accused of crimes against humanity

April 22, 2010
Malaysia must not allow this mass murderer to be immune from justice.


By Prof SHAD SALEEM FARUDI,  Information Clearing House, April 22, 2010

Source: The Star


IT IS distressing to note that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been invited to Malaysia as an honoured guest of an NGO when he stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by many learned and independent scholars of international law.

The case against him looks rock solid, especially after his confession to the BBC and the Chilcot Inquiry that he would have gone to war to topple Saddam Hussein regardless of the issue of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Indictments around the world:

The international criminal court to which Britain is a signatory has received a record number of petitions against Blair.

The World Tribunal on Iraq held in Istanbul in 2005 heard evidence from 54 witnesses and published rigorous indictments against Blair, former US president George W Bush and others.

The Brussels War Crimes Tribunal, the Blair War Crimes Foundation and the American international law jurist Richard Falk have amassed impressive evidence of Blair’s complicity in international war crimes.

Spain’s celebrated judge Baltasar Garzon (who indicted former Chilean dictator and president Augusto Pinochet) has called for Bush, Blair and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which Garzon has condemned as “one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history”.

Many UK jurists have described the invasion as a devastating attack on the rule of law that left the United Nations in tatters.

Here at home, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, after two years of meticulous investigation, received first-hand evidence from Iraqi victims of war that there have been grave violations of the international law of war in Iraq.

Last year, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, consisting of several international jurists – including Richard Falk from the US, Alfred Webre from Canada, and Niloufer Bhagat from India – unanimously adjudicated that Bush and Blair do not enjoy any immunity in international humanitarian law.

The main charges against Blair relate to his collusion with Bush in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003.

Crimes against peace:

Blair repeatedly and deliberately deceived the UN, his allies and his own people that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could be rained on anyone within 45 minutes. In deceit and conspiracy, he incited passions for an illegal war.

The resulting amassing of an American, British and Australian invasion force outside Iraq and the invasion of March 20, 2003, were flagrant acts of lawlessness and an international crime.

The Charter of the UN contains a general prohibition against force as a means of resolving disputes. The unleashing of the horrors of war on innocent populations is permitted in only two circumstances by the Charter. First, legitimate self defence, under Article 51 in the event of an actual armed attack. Iraq had not attacked the US, the UK, Spain or Australia, and the argument about self-defence had no credibility.

Second, specific Security Council authorisation of force as a last resort to maintain peace and security under Articles 39 to 42 of the Charter. There never was such a resolution. The US and UK had tried to bulldoze one through but the Security Council was divided and the attempt failed, rendering the subsequent invasion a crime against peace.

Genocide and crimes against humanity: The Anglo-American alliance is also guilty of the heinous crimes of war, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The misadventure in Iraq has up to now caused 1.4 million deaths, four million refugees and countless maimings and traumas. Two to three million Iraqis are mentally and physically disabled. Iraq today is a land of five million orphans and one to two million widows.

There is near-total devastation of basic infrastructure, health, cultural and educational systems. Water systems have been contaminated. Iraq’s assets have been looted by the Allies.

In the prosecution of the illegal and racist war, indiscriminate rocket attacks were, and still are, being rained on civilian centres, killing thousands of innocent women and children.

In 2004, the entire population of Fallujah was expelled, save for young men of military age. Banned radioactive ammunition like depleted uranium, white phosphorous and cluster bombs have been used. Torturing of prisoners of war has been practised on a large scale.

These crimes of complicity by Blair are punishable under the United Nations Charter, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Nuremberg Principles, Article 146 of the 1949 Geneva Convention and Article 3 of the 1907 Hague Convention.

What is also notable is that Blair has expressed no remorse whatsoever. Instead, he struts around the world as an apologist for the US in the Middle East and Israel. He recently received an Israeli “peace prize” worth US$1mil (RM3.2mil).

Malaysia must stand up and be counted among the community of civilised nations. It must not allow this perpetrator of epic crimes, who fakes faith in democracy and in “God’s work and God’s will”, to touch our soil ever again.

(Blair, who gave a talk at a local university in 2008, has been invited to head a line-up of speakers at the 2010 National Achiever Congress in Subang Jaya this weekend.)

If he does enter this country again we should arrest him. Regrettably, Malaysia has not yet ratified the Rome Charter, but we do have a Penal Code. Murder is a crime.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission has countless reports from Iraqi survivors against Blair for complicity in mass slaughters, tortures, looting and other war crimes. The police must act on these reports and arrest this mass murderer.

In addition, citizens’ groups must file complaints against Blair with the United Nations General Assembly and with the Attorney-Generals of countries like Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK which have “universal jurisdiction” statutes to pursue and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A tribunal like the one that tried Nazis at Nuremberg and several Yugoslav and African warlords since then needs to be constituted.

The world needs to be reassured that international humanitarian law is not applied and enforced in a racist and selective way against Asian and African tyrants only. Imperial politicians from the West who destroy millions of lives should not, any more, be immune from justice.

Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM and Visiting Professor at USM.

A Tale of Two Richards

March 6, 2010

By Nadia Hijab, Agence Global,  March 4, 2010

They hail from opposite parts of the globe, but they have much in common: Jewish; experts on and passionate defenders of international law; and pummeling bags for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And the future of the law of war lies at the heart of the campaigns against them.

Richard Goldstone, whose international stature was cemented as chief prosecutor in the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals, has been excoriated by Israel and its allies ever since his team submitted the report on the Gaza war requested by the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2009. The steady stream of invective (the report is “full of lies,” and he has “used his Jewishness to jeopardize the safety and security of Israel” are just two of the milder attacks) has also targeted his family and taken a toll on the publicly stoic judge.

Richard Falk, professor emeritus at Princeton University and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, has been attacked by Israel for years. But now, in a new twist, he is being hung out to dry by the Palestinian Authority in perhaps the unkindest cut of all.

The PA pummeling is more discreet. It has quietly suggested to Falk himself that he resign. One reported reason is that Falk can’t do his job because Israel will not allow him into the country — though this should, one would have thought, be all the more reason to defend him.

And the PA has asked the Human Rights Council to take Falk’s report off the March 22 agenda and “postpone” it to June, which the Council has done. The PA-appointed representative to the UN in Geneva insists that there are simply more important reports than Falk’s on the agenda — yet at the same time he says the PA has “many” reservations about the Falk report. The real reasons seem to be that the PA did not like the mention of Hamas in Falk’s report and his earlier criticism when the PA tried to “postpone” the Goldstone Report in September under pressure from Israel and the United States. A public outcry among Palestinians reversed that decision.

The attacks on Falk and Goldstone are hard for the two men to bear. And they tear at the very fabric of international law and the mechanisms put in place to uphold it. The Human Rights Council has stepped on a slippery slope by agreeing to postpone Falk’s report. Instead of listening to the PA (and Egypt) the Council should have backed its special rapporteur. If it does the unthinkable and relieves Falk of his duties because the PA does not want him, the system of independent special rapporteurs would be undermined, just as it would if the Council gave in to Israeli or American pressure.

Undermining the Goldstone Report would be an equally harsh blow to the human rights system. Several earlier reports have called for the application of international law to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the International Court of Justice’s seminal opinion on the illegality of Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank. But the Goldstone Report has been published at a time when people are ready to listen, which is partly why Israel is fighting it with such ferocity and on so many fronts.

On one of those fronts, Israel is trying to change international law itself, as Israeli human rights advocate Jeff Halper reveals in an important article, “The Second Battle of Gaza.” Halper identifies the Israeli figures leading the campaign “to alter international law in ways that enable them — and by extension other states involved in ‘wars on terror’ — to effectively pursue warfare amongst the people while eliminating both the legitimacy and protections enjoyed by their non-state foes.”

No one is more aware of the dangers to international law than Palestinian human rights advocates. Their organizations have acted as a group to support the implementation of the Goldstone Report and to protect Falk and his role.

Last month, 11 Palestinian human rights groups wrote to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressing dismay at the PA actions against Falk. His reports have provided “powerful instruments to advocate for Palestinian people’s rights” they said, urging Pillay to ensure that Falk enjoyed the highest level of support from her office. They also called on her to reinforce the independence of the special rapporteurs from UN member states so as to protect the UN’s own credibility.

More recently, 19 Palestinian groups wrote to PA president Mahmoud Abbas criticizing Falk’s treatment and pointing out the repercussions for the Palestinians’ internationally recognized human rights.

If the attacks on the two Richards succeed, the Palestinian cause will suffer and the world will be a poorer and more dangerous place — one in which the might of the strong is legally allowed to prevail against the rights of the weak.

Nadia Hijab is an independent analyst and a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies.

Copyright © 2010 Nadia Hijab – distributed by Agence Global

One Year After Israeli Invasion of Gaza, World Leaders Fail to Act but Global Citizens Step Forward

December 28, 2009

by Medea Benjamin, CommonDreams.org, Dec 27, 2009

One year ago, the brutal Israeli 22-day invasion of the Gaza Strip shocked the world, leaving some 1,400 people dead, thousands more wounded, as well as hospitals, schools, prisons, UN facilities, factories, agricultural processing plants and some 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed.  As we mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion, the plight of the people of Gaza continues unabated:

  • Despite pledges of money for reconstruction, Israel refuses to allow in the machinery necessary to clear the rubble or the materials needed to rebuild–banning cement, gravel, wood, pipes, glass, steel bars, aluminum and tar. Many who were made homeless during the bombing are still living in tents amidst the onset of another cold winter. Desperate, some are reverting to the ancient techniques of building homes made of mud.
  • Trade depends on an elaborate system of illicit and dangerous tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. The goods brought in are expensive, but they are the lifeline for the 1.5 million people who live under siege. The Israelis periodically bomb the tunnels, the Egyptians inject them with gas, and now, with U.S. technology and funds, Egypt is building a wall descending 70 feet into the ground to seal up the only trade route the inhabitants of Gaza have with the outside world.
  • Recent restrictions on the transfer of gas resources into Gaza have left many without adequate means to cook or provide heating as winter deepens.The Ministry of Health says that several hospitals lack the gas supplies to provide adequate hygiene for their patients. Similar restrictions on the movement of industrial fuel into the Strip have forced Gaza’s sole power plant to drastically limit the amount of electricity.
  • Water and sewage infrastructure has reached a crisis point, with tons of raw sewage pumped daily into the Mediterranean.Amnesty International recently deemed that 90 to 95 person of the water available to Gaza’s inhabitants was unfit for human consumption, and 60 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s residents have only irregular access to water. Repairs to Gaza’s overburdened sewage and water networks are largely prevented by the blockade.
  • The once-steady flow abroad of many hundreds of students a year, often to pursue postgraduate studies in Western universities, has slowed to a trickle. Israel is not even allowing students from Gaza to study in the West Bank.
  • Attempts at hold Israel accountable for crimes committed during the invasion have been thwarted. The September 2009 Goldstone Report recommended that if Israel and Hamas did not investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes, the case should be referred to the International Criminal Court. But US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and the U.S. Congress, condemned the report, assuring that it will not be brought before the U.N. Security Council.

In a report released on December 22 called Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses, a group of 16 humanitarian organizations detailed the ongoing suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people from Israel’s invasion and ongoing siege.  “It is not only Israel that has failed the people of Gaza with a blockade that punishes everybody living there for the acts of a few,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam International Executive Director. “World powers have also failed and even betrayed Gaza’s ordinary citizens.”

While international governments and UN institutions have failed their obligations, global citizens and civil society organizations have stepped forward. The past year has seen the mushrooming of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aimed at Israel. South African dockworkers refused to offload an Israeli ZIM Lines ship in February; the British bank BlackRock divested from Lev Leviev settlement projects on the occupied Palestinian territory; the Norwegian government pension fund withdrew its investments in the Israeli military contractor Elbit Systems; following the lead of South African, Irish and Scottish trade union federations, Britain’s 6.5-million member labor federation, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), called for a consumer-led boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel, specifically targeting settlement products; and Hampshire College decided to divest from several companies profiting from the Occupation.

Another group making waves is Free Gaza, which has broken the siege by bringing shipments of aid by boat. Sometimes their boats have miraculously managed to sail from Cyprus to Gaza without Israeli interference. On their last effort, however, their boat was illegally intercepted on the high seas by the Israeli Navy.

Viva Palestina, a group led by British MP George Galloway, organized a massive convoy of material aid to Gaza in a month after the attack, using public pressure to force the Egyptian government to let the convoy pass through the Rafah crossing. They sent another caravan of aid in July, and to mark the one year anniversary, Viva Palestina is bringing 210 trucks and 450 activists laden with massive quantities of humanitarian aid. It is unclear whether or not the Egyptian government will let them in.

Another creative initiative is the Gaza Freedom March. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, the Gaza Freedom March was designed to mark the one-year anniversary with a massive march to the Israeli border. Some 1,350 international participants from 43 countries are setting out for Gaza via Egypt to join with thousands of local people for the march. On the Israeli side of the border, Israelis and Palestinians will gather to join the call for an end to the siege. While the Egyptian government is refusing give permission for the international delegation to enter Gaza, the group is challenging that decision with thousands of phone calls to Egyptian embassies worldwide. They are also organizing solidarity actions in cities all over the world.

The Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, noting the world community’s failure to help the people of Gaza, cited the Gaza Freedom March and the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as “the only meaningful current challenge to Israel’s violations of its obligations as the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip under the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter.”

As the year-end brings horrifying memories to the Palestinians in Gaza, we hope they recognize that grassroots groups the world over are not only thinking of them, but actively organizing to lift the siege that makes their lives so difficult.

Medea Benjamin (medea@globalexchange.org) is cofounder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange.

Gaza, Afghanistan and International Law

December 22, 2009
Interview with Richard Falk

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and author of “Crimes of War: Iraq” and “The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order after Iraq” recorded October 17, 2009 in Seattle

Information Clearing House, posted  Dec 21, 2009