The cause of injustice, now wants to tackle it!

“With a new Tory leader and PM inbound, it looks like the rear guard are desperately trying to create, or perhaps we we should say fabricate(?), their own legacies before being kicked out.

Only now have they pledged a review into benefits for the terminally ill (Amber Rudd) or offered to genuinely tackle “burning injustices” in British society (Theresa May) – many of which the current government themselves have created.
It would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious matter.”

Govt Newspeak

Since the buck stopped with the PM, Theresa May has been complicit in the hostile environment towards: The disabled, sick, immigrants, jobless, mothers, homeless, etc, by turning a blind eye to every injustice caused by her government. I wonder what her God thinks of her actions?

S


Theresa May announces new independent body to tackle ‘societal injustice’
Labour said Theresa May has presided over “three failed years” of tackling ‘burning injustices’.

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May has today announced the creation of an independent organisation to better understand the many social injustices routed in British society.

Downing Street said the new ‘Office for Tackling Injustices’ (OfTI) will be charged with delivering more ‘effective, data-driven, evidence-based’ data to help future government’s policy decisions.

The OfTI will look at disparities in areas including socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation and explore if specific groups of people are unfairly discriminated against or…

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Israel’s Scheme to Bury the Nakba. “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”

Astute News

Israel’s 1947-48 Nakba against the Palestinian people was and remains one of history’s great crimes — what Ilan Pappe called “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” in his book by this title.

Establishment of the Jewish state came at the expense of the Palestinian people, their descendants and refugee population.

The final master plan’s goal aimed to create a state with maximum Jews and minimum Arabs — by any means, including mass murder of defenseless people.

Around 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly driven from their homeland, many thousands slaughtered in cold blood.

The six-month campaign beginning in late 1947 destroyed 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.

According to Nuremberg Principles, ethnically cleansing people from their land is a high crime against humanity.

Israeli accountability was never forthcoming for mass-murder; destruction of homes, villages, crops and other property; countless atrocities; showing no mercy to defenseless men…

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Court-Involved Clinical Psychology and Child Custody Decision-Making

“We do not decide on who is harmed.

But what about the greater good? If the child would benefit from more time with one parent than the other?

Two responses. First, psychologists do not judge people to decide who deserves to have children and who doesn’t. That is NOT our role. Parents have the right to parent according to their cultural values, their personal values, and their religious values. Psychologists should NOT assume a professional role of judging which parent is the “better parent” based on criteria that cannot be supported. If there is no child abuse, then parents have the right to be parents. If there is child abuse and child protection factors are a consideration, then there should be a corresponding DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse.

Psychologists should not be in a role of judging who “deserves” to be a parent and who doesn’t.

Second, the “greater good” argument for causing harm is specifically prohibited by the APA ethics code. Standard 3.04b prohibits psychologists from consulting for or collaborating with torture practices (enhanced interrogation) of terrorists. Even terrorists, where there is a greater-good argument about the information they possess, psychologists are not allowed to harm terrorists. The greater-good argument for causing harm is specifically prohibited.

Psychologists are not allowed to harm people.”

Dr. Craig Childress: Attachment Based "Parental Alienation" (AB-PA)

Targeted parents are human beings.  They are people.  Psychologists are not allowed to hurt people.  Anyone.  Targeted parents qualify.

Psychologists are not allowed to hurt people.  We’re not allowed to do anything that would hurt the targeted parent.

Making professional recommendations that would limit the time that targeted parents share with their children to anything less than the maximum time possible, hurts the targeted parent.  It makes them sad, very sad, it takes away from them a fundamental self-identity role of mother or father, it takes from them life experiences with their ever-growing child that can never be recaptured or recovered, the child is only five once, only ten once, only fifteen once, never again.  Lost time is lost, and this hurts the targeted parent.

Psychologists are not allowed to hurt people, not even targeted parents.  They are people.

What is the maximum amount of time?  Following divorce, that would…

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#US #Hubris & #Hegemony: If You Provoke the Entire World, Something May Happen!

If You Provoke the Entire World, Something May HappenAndre Vltchek | Global Research | 10 July 2019

The United States believes that it is so invincible, exceptional and so frightening that no one would ever dare to protest, let alone defend its people against constant humiliation, economic embargos and military threats.

It used to be like this for quite some time. In the past, the West used to bully the world before and after each well-planned assault. Also, well-crafted propaganda used to be applied.

It was declared that things are done ‘legally’ and rationally. There were certain stages to colonialist and imperialist attacks: “define your goals”, “identify your victim”, “plan”, “brainwash your own citizens and people all over the world”, and then, only then, “bomb some unfortunate country back to the stone ages”.

Now, things are slightly different. “The leader of the free world” wakes up in the middle of the night, and he tweets. What comes from his computer, tablet or phone, (or whatever he uses), is spontaneous, unpolished and incredibly dangerous. Similar in substance to what made him wake up in the middle of the night, in a first place.

He does not seem to plan; he shoots off from the hip. Today, as I am writing this essay, he has declared that he has “five strategies for Venezuela”. Go figure. Bravo!

Earlier, as he was about to land outside London, he embarked on insulting the Mayor of the British capital, calling him names. A bit like we used to do to each other, when we were five years old, in the neighborhood playground.

He has been regularly offending Mexico, and of course Iran, China and Russia.

He basically tells the leader of the most populous nation on earth – China – to “be there”, at the G20 Summit, or else.

Whenever he and his lieutenants are in the mood, they get busy antagonizing everyone: Cuba and Nicaragua, DPRK and Venezuela, Bolivia and Syria.

Of course, the main “culprits” are always the ‘biggest bad boys’, Russia and China.

Anyone, at any time, could easily land on the proverbial hit list of President Trump, and hawks of his United States of A. It could be India (which, during ‘good submissive times’ is called by the West the “biggest democracy”, or perhaps Turkey (militarily the second mightiest NATO country).  The world had been converted into an entity which appears to be run by a bloodthirsty and unpredictable dictatorship. The world is an entity where everyone is terrified of being purged, imprisoned, starved to death, or directly attacked, even liquidated.

It was always like this, at least in the modern history of the planet. Colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism: they have many different faces but one common root. Root that has been often hidden deep under the surface.

But this time it is all in the open, raw and brutally honest.

*

Both George W. Bush and Donald Trump have one thing in common: they are honest.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were both ‘suave’ presidents. They were loved in Europe, as they knew how to speak politely, how to dine elegantly, and how to commit mass murder in a ‘rational, righteous way’; ‘old-fashioned, European-style’.

The brutal, vulgar ways of W. Bush and Donald Trump, have been consistently shocking all those individuals who are pleased when things are done ‘stylishly’ and ‘politically correctly’; be it a coup or the starvation to death of millions through embargos. Or be it invasions or ‘smart’ bombing (practically, ‘smart’ meaning very far from the inquisitive eyes).

But it is not only the ‘offended sensibilities’ of predominantly European population, that matter.

The danger is that someone might take Donald Trump seriously, and respond accordingly.

In the past, verbal insults similar to those unleashed now by the US President, could easily have led to a war, or at least to the breaking up of diplomatic relationships.

And now?

In case Westerners have not realized it, yet – people all over the world are indignant. I talk to Libyans, Afghans, Iraqis, Venezuelans, Cubans, Iranians: they hate what comes from Washington; hate it with passion. They know that what is being done to them is terrorism, thuggery. But for now, they do not know how to defend themselves. Not yet, but they are thinking.

The entire world now resembles a brutal ghetto, or a slum, where a heavily armed gang controls the streets, and in fact every corner and alley.

At least in the past, subjugated people were able to hide behind decorative words and ideological pirouettes. They were able to ‘save their face’. They were sodomized in the name of ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. Now, a horrible reality is flying directly into all directions: “You will do as you are told!” “It is us who will decide.” “Obey, because we said so”. Entire proud nations are being reduced into states of slaves or even worse – lap dogs.

*

As everyone is well aware of, even lackeys and slaves often hold grudges. And abused dogs can bite.

Throughout history, slaves rebelled. True heroes came from rebellious and enslaved nations.

This, what we have now on our planet, is not good, not a healthy situation.

The more countries that are being intimidated, the higher the chances are that somewhere, soon, things will let go; collapse.

Only terrible fear, so far, assures that if a Syrian or a Libyan or an Afghan city is leveled to the ground, there is no real retaliation: urban areas in the USA stay intact.

Only incredible patience of the Russian or Chinese leaders guarantees that, so far, even as their economies are being battered by ridiculous sanctions, the two powerful nations do not retaliate and ruin the US financial system (which is only a paper tiger).

Trump dares. He tortures and humiliates more than half of the world, then looks straight ahead and laughs: “So what are you going to do now?”

So far, the world is doing nothing.

Even the proud and mighty Iran is not ‘crossing the line’. As millions of its people are suffering because of insane sanctions, the Iranian navy is not yet engaging the US battleships that are sailing very near its shores.

Even as more and more US bases are being built right next to both Russia and China’s borders, so far there are no substantial military bases being erected by Moscow or Beijing in places such as Nicaragua, Cuba or Venezuela.

*

All this may change, soon.

And the so much dreaded (by Washington) “domino effect” may actually take place.

Non-Western leaders have also their ‘bad days’ and terrible nights. They also wake up in the middle of the night, and think, want to communicate and to act.

Imagine an Iranian leader, waking up at 2AM, and suddenly feeling overwhelmed by wrath, because Iranian men, women and children are suffering, for no reason, as a result of the perverse sadism being regurgitated by the West. What if he Tweets an insult, too? What if he just orders, on a spur of the moment, to have all those obsolete US aircraft carriers and destroyers that are floating in the vicinity, be sunk? Iran can do it: everyone knows that it can! Technically, militarily, it is easy: those ships are just sitting ducks.

Then what? Will Washington nuke Iran?

Someone may say: The West is killing millions every year, anyway. Better to fight it, in order to stop it, once and for all. Others may join. And then, then what? Will Trump give orders to kill tens of millions, just to maintain control over the world?

What if the US navy vessels bump into a Russian or a Chinese ship, as they almost did in the South China Sea, recently? What if a Russian or Chinese ship sinks, dozens of sailors die. And there is a retaliation? Then what?

What if Syria has enough and begins shooting down Israeli military jets that are bombing it, and attacking North American and European ‘special forces’ that are still located, illegally, on its territory?

The US is engaged all over the world. France and the UK, too. And if you talk to the people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, you very soon realize what the real feelings towards Washington are!

If you provoke the entire world, something very terrible may happen!

Now, there is an entire coalition of powerful nations, ready to defend themselves, and also defend each other. Militarily, economically, and ideologically.

The world is not a slave of the West, or the United States. It is not a latrine.

This is the new world. Considering the horrors that were spread by the West, for many long years and centuries, Asia, Africa, “Latin America”, the Middle East and Oceania, are unbelievably patient and forgiving. But the USA and Europe should not take this tolerance for granted. They should not provoke its former and present victims.

Now, we (the people from the previously ruined part of the world) are beginning to speak up: about what is being done to us – to China and Russia, to South America and Africa, and the Middle East. With awareness comes courage. With courage comes pride.

Do not misinterpret our kindness. It is not a weakness. Not anymore. Think twice before you speak (or Tweet). Think a thousand times, before you act!

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Four of his latest books are China and Ecological Civilization with John B. Cobb, Jr., Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his TwitterHis Patreon



source: If You Provoke the Entire World, Something May HappenAndre Vltchek | Global Research | 10 July 2019


 

ANALYSIS: #Iran Keeps Calm While #Warmongering #US + #UK Continue #Provocations!

Iran Keeps Calm While U.S. And Britain Continue Their Provocations | MOON OF ALABAMA | 11 July 2019

 

Great Britain has joined the U.S. pressure and provocation campaign against Iran. It is creating incidents to put Iran into a defensive position and to provoke into a violent reaction.

Early today ‘two U.S. officials’ spread a scare story about Iran which lead to this CNN headline: Iranian boats attempted to seize a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz

Armed Iranian boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, according to two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident.The British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by boats from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials.

The same ‘two U.S. officials’ briefed ABCNews:

A British warship prevented an apparent attempt by five Iranian small boats to direct a British oil tanker towards Iranian waters on Wednesday, according to two U.S. officials.

Remarkably the official British report came later than the U.S. officials briefing. It showed significant differences:

The UK defence ministry said that “three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz.”“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” the ministry statement said. 

“There has been no confrontation in the last 24 hours with any foreign vessels, including British ones,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement.

The U.S. officials claimed 5, not 3 boats. They claimed the boats tried to seize the ship, while the Brits just say they probably were getting in the way of the ship. The U.S. officials ‘direct knowledge of the incident’ seems to be lacking. Iran says that nothing happened at all.

There are reasons to believe that the Iranian statement is the most truthful one.

The BRITISH HERITAGE is a crude oil carrier with an overall length of 274 m, a beam of 49 m and a maximum draft of 17.8 m. How three of the typical 20 feet long fiberglass speedboats of the IRGC could try to ‘seize’ or even ‘impede’ such a huge ships is not conceivable.

According to CNN the ship came from Basra, Iraq, had stopped at the Saudi coast and then left the Persian Gulf. It was not carrying any cargo at the time of the incident. That is quite curious as a crude oil carrier is typical loading and not delivering crude to Persian Gulf countries.

Here is a Marine Traffic chart of the last course of the British Heritage.

Of interest is also that the ship turned off its AIS signal, see the dotted line, during its passage through the Hormuz Strait.

CNN also noted that:

On July 10, the ship turned off its transponders for almost 24 hours, making it undetectable by radars. When it switched on its transponders at around 1pm Eastern Time, it appeared to have sailed through the Persian Gulf escorted by the HMS Montrose.

Turning of the AIS in a high traffic area and especially at night is quite dangerous. The AIS signals a ships type, speed and course and other ships use that data to plan their own course. But even without AIS the ship will still be visible on the Iranian surveillance radars that control the Hormuz Strait. A ship on the radar screen without AIS information would be suspicious.

So why would the British ship do that? Was that an attempt to draw special attention to it from the Iranian coast guard or military?

To me it seems that the empty British crude carrier, which was shadowed by a British frigate, was used as bait. There were probably Royal Marines on board waiting for an Iranian attempt to seize the ship. Iran did not fall for it.

On July 4 the British military in Gibraltar hijacked the tanker GRACE 1which was carrying Iranian crude oil allegedly to Syria. The ship had planned to receive provisions in Gibraltar. The British controlled enclave changed its local regulations only a day before the ship arrived:

The new regulation, introduced on July 3, allows Gibraltar to designate and detain ‘specified ships’ for up to 72 hours if the chief minister has reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of EU regulations.Crucially, Grace 1 can be held until any other legal proceedings in other jurisdictions against the owners of the cargo or tanker are settled. The seizure has triggered a diplomatic row between the UK and Iran, amid claims the detention was done at the behest of the US.

Tomasz Wlostowski, a lawyer specialized in EU regulatory affairs, found that there is no legal base in EU sanctions law and regulations to nab the tanker.

Today the police of Gibraltar arrested the captain of the ship:

Gibraltar Chronicle @GibChronicle – 14:45 UTC – 11 Jul 2019Police in #Gibraltar have arrested the captain and chief officer of the supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions on Syria, a spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police has confirmed.

The spokesman confirmed too that documents and electronic devices have been seized from the ship.

Both men were arrested on Thursday afternoon interviewed under caution. Neither has been charged at this stage and investigations continue.

On July 3 a U.S. military spy plane crossed into Iranian airspace, twice, likely to provoke an reaction. The pirating of the GRACE 1 on July 4 was a U.S. planned provocation of Iran but carried out by the Brits. The passage of the empty BRITISH HERITAGE without AIS but with a military shadow seems to have been an attempt to lure Iran into a revenge action. When that did not work John Bolton strew the scare story about a failed attempt to ‘seize’ the ship. The Brits say the incident was less serious, and Iran says it never happened. The arrest of the captain of the GRACE 1 is another step on the provocation ladder.

The people who planned these provocation do not understand how Iran acts and reacts. Its military forces are obviously under orders not to react to provocations as such could allow the John Bolton’s of this world to escalate towards a war.

Iran will react to these provocations and especially the British seizure of its tanker. But, as we noted in an earlier piece, its responses to such incidents are nearly always asymmetrical and come at an unexpected place and time.


source: Iran Keeps Calm While U.S. And Britain Continue Their Provocations | MOON OF ALABAMA | 11 July 2019


 

#CriminalCasesReviewCommission: #Miscarriages of #justice #watchdog faces scrutiny! #TheLawIsBroken

Miscarriages of justice watchdog faces scrutiny | Paul Rogers | The Times | 11 July 2019

Lord Garnier, QC, a former solicitor-general, will chair the review into the body responsible for rectifying wrongful convictions
Lord Garnier, QC, a former solicitor-general, will chair the review into the body responsible for rectifying wrongful convictions
PAUL ROGERS FOR THE TIMES

The body charged with reviewing potential miscarriages of justice comes under scrutiny next week as a commission co-chaired by a former law officer begins its work.

The Westminster Commission on Miscarriages of Justice has been established by the all-party parliamentary group on miscarriages of justice with a brief to investigate the ability of the criminal justice system and, in particular, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to identify and rectify miscarriages of justice.

There has been continued financial pressure on the justice system that has led to growing concern over increasing numbers of people being wrongly convicted and whether the CCRC and Court of Appeal are able to right those wrongs.

The CCRC came out of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, which was set up with the aim of restoring the battered reputation of British justice on the day that the Birmingham Six, who were wrongly jailed for the murder in 1974 of 21 people, were released in 1991.

Among the cuts made to the Ministry of Justice since 2010, the 60 per cent cut to the CCRC was the deepest. On average it receives 1,500 applications a year and refers 0.77 per cent of cases back to the Court of Appeal. Aside from its chronic underfunding, it is dogged by concerns over its lack of independence and inbuilt conservatism. Only cases with a “real possibility” of being overturned can be referred back which, critics argue, makes it second-guess the Court of Appeal and take too pragmatic a view.

The review will be chaired by the barrister and Conservative former solicitor-general, Lord Garnier, QC, and the crossbench peer, Baroness Stern. Its members will include the former chief inspector of prisons Dame Anne Owers, Michelle Nelson, QC, a barrister at Red Lion Chambers, and Erwin James, the editor-in-chief of the prison journal Inside Time. It will inquire into the ability of the CCRC to deal effectively with alleged miscarriages of justice; its relationship with the Court of Appeal, its remit, composition, structure and funding.

The first evidence session will take place next week when the CCRC will give evidence to the panel.

With funding from US law for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Garden Court Law, the review aims to publish its report and recommendations in January.


source: Miscarriages of justice watchdog faces scrutiny | Paul Rogers | The Times | 11 July 2019


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ALSO SEE:

A New Commission Is Being Launched To Look At Miscarriages Of JusticeEmily Dugan | BUZZFEED NEWS | 10 July 2019

Exclusive: The new commission will look at the difficulty of overturning wrongful convictions in England and Wales, as “innocent people [are] being left on the scrap heap.”

A Westminster Commission on Miscarriages of Justice is being launched next week as lawyers say the justice system is in “crisis,” with “innocent people being left on the scrap heap”.

It comes amid mounting evidence from those working in the justice system that the risk of being wrongly convicted of a crime is growing at the same time as the mechanisms for overturning it get weaker.

Max Nash / PA Archive/PA Image

Eddie Gilfoyle spent 18 years in prison for a crime he says he did not commit.

 

The former director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is among many working in the justice system who say it is “creaking”. The most pressing issues include cuts to police and legal aid, widespread problems with the disclosure of evidence, and the erosion of the standard of proof needed in criminal cases. Against this backdrop, lawyers and those trying to overturn convictions say the system for appealing miscarriages of justice is failing.

The commission was set up by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Miscarriages of Justice to investigate the ability of the criminal justice system to identify, rectify, and prevent miscarriages of justice.

One of the key bodies it will scrutinise will be the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), responsible for investigating potential miscarriages of justice and referring them to the Court of Appeal, which can overturn decisions made in criminal court.

The commission is inviting written submissions and will be holding evidence sessions in Parliament. Its first hearing will be on July 15, when the CCRC will give evidence.

Lawyers say that the quality of case reviews by the CCRC has declined and that it often fails to carry out proper investigations or engage experts — a situation that is reflected in historically low rates of referrals to the Court of Appeal.

The CCRC referred just 0.7% of the cases it received for a fresh appeal in the financial year ending 2017 — its lowest rate ever. Last year the figure improved slightly, to 1.2%, but is still far below its previous average of more than 3%.

Crown Prosecution Service / Press Association Images

Alison Saunders

The CCRC denied that review quality had declined, though it conceded it did not have a definitive answer to why the rate was falling. One of the factors cited by its spokesperson was the fact that in recent years, the body had fewer tranches of thematically linked referrals.

Former Lord Justice Sir Anthony Hooper told BBC Panorama last year he believed the CCRC had become more cautious because of the way cases were being turned down by the Court of Appeal — and that this was causing it to refer fewer cases: “It’s become much more difficult for an appellant to succeed … and therefore that will no doubt influence [the CCRC] on what cases they send through.”

A recurring problem, according to lawyers, is that the bar is set too high for the CCRC to refer a case to the Court of Appeal. The test applied is that caseworkers have to believe there is a “real possibility” that the Court of Appeal will quash a conviction. Because the Court of Appeal is perceived as reluctant to overturn cases, lawyers believe this has had a knock-on effect on the CCRC and prevented it from referring cases where there is significant evidence that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

The commission will look at the ability of the CCRC to deal effectively with alleged miscarriages of justice and whether changes, including to the law, might be needed to help it carry out its function. As part of this, it will examine the CCRC’s relationship with the Court of Appeal and the current test for referring cases to it.

For Eddie Gilfoyle, who served 18 years for murder after his pregnant wife, Paula, was found dead in their garage in Upton, Wirral, the commission cannot come soon enough. For the last 27 years he has maintained his innocence, but his conviction has so far remained in place despite fresh evidence that he believes would clear his name.

At his hearing in 1993, prosecutors said Gilfoyle had tricked Paula into writing a suicide note and tied a noose around her neck. They painted a picture of a woman with good mental health whose suicide was faked. Yet in 2010 his lawyer, Matt Foot, discovered diaries written by Paula which detailed a previous suicide attempt and her trauma at an earlier relationship with a man convicted for murder. They were given to the CCRC in 2000, but Gilfoyle was not told about them.

“The Criminal Justice system has failed me at every step,” he wrote in a message to BuzzFeed News. “I am convicted on evidence put to a jury which today is no longer intact. Yet nobody will listen and overturn my conviction for a crime I did not commit. A crime that did not happen. I was at work when my wife died. I cannot grieve the death of my wife and unborn child.”

Gilfoyle, who was released from prison in 2010 but remains a convicted murderer, went on: “Every day is a continuous nightmare. I still have the fear of being returned to prison by the probation service. I can not enjoy things or even think about my life whilst I am stuck in this nightmare that the system won’t put right.”

Gilfoyle argues that this fresh evidence to clear his name has yet to be tested because in 2016 the CCRC declined to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. And in 2017 a judicial review into the decision not to refer the claim to the Court of Appeal failed. He believes the CCRC’s reluctance to refer is because two previous appeals, in 1995 and 2000, had failed.

Gilfoyle said: “In 2000 when the CCRC referred my case to the Appeal court they did so because they believed my case was a miscarriage of justice. I was one of the first cases they referred. My case is stronger today than it was then because I have so much more evidence today to prove my Innocence than I had in 2000. Yet, because of this broken system I cannot get this new evidence before a court and that can’t be justice.”

Red Cell: Patrick Maguire from Proof magazine, issue 4

It is now ‘nearly impossible’ for the victims of wrongful conviction to access material held by the police that might assist their appeal, according to the chair of the all-party parliamentray group on miscarriages of justice. The Labour MP Barry Sheerman raised the issue in Parliament last month when he asked the justice secretary what steps the Ministry of Justice was taking to improve the post-conviction disclosure regime.

Five years ago the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the police’s refusal to disclose forensic evidence that could have helped to overturn Kevin Nunn’s conviction for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Dawn Walker. The court’s view was that the duty of disclosure post-conviction was largely curtailed by the need to preserve the ‘finality of proceedings’ in the public interest and it was for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to act as arbiter as to whether it was appropriate to seek disclosure in a particular case.

As has been reported on the Justice Gap, campaigners believe that the ruling has left those seeking disclosure in a ‘Catch-22’ – i.e., to make a successful request for evidence, they need to argue that such evidence is likely to demonstrate innocence. However, the only way to establish such knowledge is by accessing the evidence in the first place.

According to a new article published in theInternational Journal of Law, Crime and Justice by Louise Shorter, the journalist who runs the charity Inside Justice, and Professor Carole McCartney of Northumbria University’s school of law, Nunn has created an environment where getting access to case materials is a ‘lottery’. ‘Not only is permission required of the investigating force,’ they write, ‘who may not be motivated to facilitate the re-opening of a case they consider closed […] but decisions are made on a piecemeal basis, sometimes even exhibit by exhibit.’

In the five-year period since Nunn, campaigners and journalists seeking disclosure have found their efforts increasingly thwarted. According to the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association, the police and CPS had ‘always co-operated with such requests up until the time of the Nunn case’.

The report also quotes from a submission coauthored by the Centre for Criminal Appeals and Cardiff Innocence Project to the House of Commons’ justice committee’s 2018 inquiry into disclosure (here) in which they argue that that CCRC’s reviews were ‘no longer sufficient to reliably identify miscarriages of justice resulting from disclosure failings’. 

It is the defendant or would-be appellant to whom the right of access to post-disclosure should apply,’ they argue. ‘This right should not be denied because of the existence of an arm’s length body subject to the vagaries of government funding levels. In addition, defendants who have not been able to find grounds for appeal without further disclosure are almost never eligible for the CCRC’s assistance.’ 

According to the two groups, even ‘highly specific requests’ for material from the police and CPS (e.g., unseen CCTV footage, identity parade documentation, and details of unfounded allegationsare ‘normally turned down’. 

The report highlights the case of Victor Nealon who spent 17 years in prison before having his conviction for attempted rape overturned as an example of the CCRC’s reluctance to take a proactive role.

Nealon had volunteered for a DNA test at his very first police interview. He made two earlier applications to the CCRC in 1999 and 2002. On both occasions, the group agreed to investigate his case and, on both occasions, Nealon called for the watchdog to carry out a DNA test. In its 2002 decision not to refer the case, the CCRC said that it was not its policy to carry out ‘speculative tests’. Nealon blames the group for him spending an additional ten years in prison because (in his words) it ‘accepted at face value evidence given by the police that examinations had been carried out in respect of forensic evidence’. Richard Foster, chairman of the CCRC, wrote to Nealon in 2014 acknowledging that the group ‘could and should have identified there were forensic opportunities that had not been explored’.

Shorter and McCartney argue that the problems have been compounded by the ‘widespread ignorance’ of the post-conviction disclosure requirements. Just two of the 43 police forces in England and Wales correctly identified the current retention policy in response to freedom of information requests. That national policy is found in the Code of Practice contained in the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996. It gives guidance about the recording and retention of unused prosecution materials both during proceedings and after conviction. 

‘The storage of material, post-conviction, is currently an opaque, unaudited landscape. If materials are stored effectively, then disclosure is a possibility. Indeed, without access to material there is no point in storing it. Once post-conviction disclosure is effective, then appeals are a possibility. Without either, the Court of Criminal Appeal will become increasingly inconsequential.’
Louise Shorter and Carole McCartney

In response to Barry Sheerman’s question last month, Edward Argar MP said that the MoJ had ‘no plans’ to review the post-conviction disclosure regime.


Related Posts

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ALSO SEE:

Westminster commission to look at role of the miscarriage of justice watchdog | Nicholas Reed Langen | The Justice Gap | 10 July 2019

Old Bailey: the central criminal court of England and Wales

A cross-party group of politicians has launched an inquiry into the miscarriage of justice watchdog following  ‘serious misgivings’ from lawyers, campaigners and academics about its ability to deal with cases of alleged wrongful convictions.

The all party parliamentary group on miscarriages of justice (APPG) has today announced the establishment of a body which will look at the performance of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The APPG’s Westminster commission has the responsibility for ‘investigating the ability of the criminal justice system to effectively identify, rectify and prevent miscarriages of justice’.

As has been reported extensively on the Justice Gap, concerns over the performance of the CCRC have mounted since it referred just a dozen cases to the Court of Appeal in 2017 and only 19 cases in 2018. There has also been concern over the CCRC’s success rate. Its 20 year average was 67%, and so more than two-thirds of referrals were overturned; however, as the number of referrals crashed, so has its success rate to just 46% last year.

The CCRC is also in the grips of a funding crisis. When the Commission was set up up in 1997, its budget was £7.5m and it dealt with 800 cases a year. This compares to funding of just £5.45m last year with applications running at an average of 1,500 a year.

The new Westminister Commission will assess the body’s relationship with the Court of Appeal, and whether the test used for referring cases places too high a burden on those appealing their conviction. It will also consider the current remit and funding of the CCRC, and if issues and failings within other parts of the criminal justice system are preventing the CCRC from exercising its mandate fully.

The first session of the Commission, chaired by Baroness Stern, who has a background in penal reform, and Lord Garnier QC, the former Solicitor-General, is scheduled for Monday 15th July. Oral evidence is due to be given by the CCRC, with the Commission now accepting written submissions from relevant parties.

Additional reporting by Jon Robins


From the Westminster Commission’s terms of Reference

Given that there are serious misgivings expressed in the legal profession, and amongst commentators and academics, about the remit of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and its ability to deal with cases of miscarriages of justice, and given that perceptions of injustice within the criminal justice system are as damaging to public confidence as actual cases of injustice, the Commission will inquire into: 

    1. The ability of the CCRC, as currently set up, to deal effectively with alleged miscarriages of justice; 
    2. Whether statutory or other changes might be needed to assist the CCRC to carry out its function, including;  (i) the CCRC’s relationship with the Court of Appeal with particular reference to the current test for referring cases to it (the ‘real possibility’ test);   (ii) the remit, composition, structure and funding of the CCRC; 
    3. The extent to which the CCRC’s role is hampered by failings or issues elsewhere in the criminal justice system;  and make recommendations. 


**** ALSO SEE:

Cover for 

Reasons to Doubt

Reasons to Doubt

Wrongful Convictions and the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Carolyn Hoyle and Mai Sato

Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

  • Presents the findings of the first thorough empirical study of decision-making and the use of discretion within the Commission
  • Studies each stage of the Commission’s review process in detail
  • Offers an accessible analysis of the legal and policy frameworks that guide decision-making at the Commission

 


JusticeDenied2

#JCPOA #Piracy on High Sea: #US + #British Aim to Sink #Iran #Nuclear Deal!

Piracy on High Seas… US and British Aim to Sink Iran Nuclear Deal | Finian Cunningham | STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION | 8 July 2019

The seizure of two million barrels of Iranian crude oil by British commandoes is a blatant act of piracy aimed at provoking Iran into war. Also, confiscation of the supertanker in Britain’s Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar seems aimed at sinking the last chances for the international nuclear accord being upheld.

Iran has already warned it will suspend parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by increasing stockpiles of enriched uranium, particularly because Tehran has rebuked the European Union for not doing enough to implement the 2015 accord and normalize trade with Iran, circumventing US sanctions.

Following the G20 summit in Japan at the end of last month, the Europeans appeared to stiffen their resolve to finally set up a trading mechanism with Iran (known as Instex) which would avoid US sanctions.

The timing of the latest capture of Iranian crude oil at sea by British special forces – and the indication they were colluding with American intelligence – will serve to sabotage any trust in Tehran that the Europeans can deliver on promises, thereby prompting Iran to crash out of the nuclear accord.

Britain claims that its Royal Marines commandeered the supertanker ferrying the Iranian-owned cargo in order to enforce EU sanctions on Syria. Those EU sanctions have been in place since 2014 based on tenuous claims that the Syrian government is repressing its people with war (a war started covertly by US and NATO-backed proxies.)

In any case, the 330-meter Grace 1 vessel, loaded with crude oil worth an estimated $120 million, was boarded Thursday early morning under cover of darkness by dozens of British commandoes from helicopters and speed boats while it was transiting the Gibraltar Strait, the western opening of the Mediterranean Sea.

The crew were mainly Indian and Pakistani seamen, and the ship is reportedly Panamanian-flagged and owned by a Singaporean company. But the lucrative cargo is Iran’s. Iran has responded furiously, denouncing the British action as “piracy”. A former chief of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps urged retaliation by confiscating a British vessel.

There is a strong sense that this tit-for-tat escalation is exactly what the Americans and British are trying to orchestrate so as to create a pretext for armed conflict with Iran.

Russia quickly condemned the British seizure of the Iranian oil tanker as a reckless provocation to deliberately inflame tensions, carried out in cahoots with Washington.

John Bolton, President Trump’s hawkish national security advisor, gloated that the British operation was “excellent news”. Trump himself warned that Iran should be “very, very careful” about how it responds to the incident. That anticipatory reaction suggests the event was a planned provocation.

It follows several previous incidents of apparent false-flag attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf which have been blamed on Iran by Bolton and other US officials. At the end of last month, a US spy drone was shot down by Iran after it breached the country’s territory. That incident nearly launched an American air strike “in response” which was cancelled by Trump at the last minute.

 

Now the provocation has taken it up a notch with the actual seizure of Iranian property and a badly needed source of export revenue for the sanctioned country.

The British government claims that the seizure of Iranian oil was authorized by the Gibraltar authorities. London says its Royal Marines were dispatched as back up for Gibraltar police to apprehend the tanker in order to enforce EU sanctions on Syria, where the oil was reportedly destined for.

The British version stretches credulity. The planning of such a risky operation would have had to require lengthy logistics. It would not have been something the tiny territory of Gibraltar could initiate. Moreover, Spain’s government, which is in historic dispute with Britain over ownership of Gibraltar, has claimed that Britain was acting on US intelligence.

If Iran goes ahead and confiscates a British vessel in retaliation, then the escalation game goes into heightened danger levels. Such a move could provide the war cause that anti-Iran hawks want.

The British are showing themselves to be the loyal warmongering accomplice that they are for Washington. London is also showing its notorious perfidy and black art of deception. After all, Britain is supposed to be supporting the international nuclear accord along with other European powers.

The European Union executive in Brussels does not appear to have been involved or notified of the British operation to interdict the Iranian crude oil. If the action was allegedly to enforce EU sanctions against Syria, why wasn’t Brussels in the loop?

It seems that the Americans and British carried out the seizure operation not for the purpose of enforcing EU sanctions against Syria per se, but rather to simply antagonize Iran. In addition, the putative responsibility of EU sanctions, as claimed by the British and Americans, will have the effect of demolishing any confidence in Tehran that the Europeans can act independently from Washington to uphold the nuclear deal.

Iran will have little choice other than to walk away from the nuclear treaty. The Americans can then self-justify ratcheting up secondary sanctions to cut off all global exports of Iranian oil. Choking off Iran’s lifeline exports to “zero” is what the Trump administration has repeatedly bragged about.

It’s hard to see how this relentless, criminal provocation of Iran will not lead to war.


source: Piracy on High Seas… US and British Aim to Sink Iran Nuclear Deal | Finian Cunningham | STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION | 8 July 2019


ALSO SEE:

Fears commercial vessels at risk from gunboats following HMS Montrose’s intervention

Navy frigate HMS Montrose
Navy frigate HMS Montrose intervened after an Isle of man-flagged vessel was challenged by Iranian gunboats in the Gulf. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images

British ships operating in the Gulf have been put on the highest state of alert amid fears that UK-flagged commercial vessels are vulnerable to attack by Iranian gunboats.

The change in guidance from the British government, changing the alert to level 3, was made on Tuesday, a day before a Royal Navy warship trained its guns on Iranian gunboats that tried to disrupt the passage of an Isle of Man-flagged vessel. Level 3 is described as equivalent to the domestic security classification of critical in which there is an imminent risk of an incident.

The alert is for the 15-30 large British-owned vessels that travel through the Gulf every day.

The UK said the commercial ship, British Heritage, was in disputed waters claimed by Iran when it was challenged by three Iranian vessels and ordered to move north. HMS Montrose then intervened, aiming its guns at the Iranian boats to ward them off.

The UK, keen to de-escalate the crisis and preserve the international nuclear deal with Tehran, is reluctant to release the video of the incident, which was first reported by the US late on Wednesday night.

“It seems that the Brits and the French and the Germans are coming around to the idea that the Iranians are up to no good!” President Trump tweeted on Thursday.

Britain has one warship, HMS Montrose, and three minesweepers operating in the area and so lacks the capacity to escort all British-linked ships moving through the Strait of Hormuz. Defence officials said that the British deployment is kept under constant review, but it was not possible to escort every ship travelling in Gulf waters.

British officials promised the Royal Navy “will be resolutely defending British maritime interests in the Gulf, but has no interest in escalating the situation”.

The threat to British shipping in the Gulf follows the seizure by Royal Marine commandos of an Iranian-flagged vessel, Grace 1, off the Straits of Gibraltar last Thursday, that prompted Tehran to threaten reprisals. The tanker is suspected of breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.

The Indian captain of the ship and its chief officer were formally arrested on Thursday by Gibraltarian authorities after a week-long investigation. The ship remains detained and Iran has denounced the actions as piracy. Documents and electronic equipment was seized from the vessel, a spokesperson said.

British Heritage had been due to collect oil in Basra, Iraq, but abruptly turned around on Saturday on the basis of British government advice. It was seeking to go through the crowded waters without a load when it faced an Iranian instruction to go clearly into Iranian waters.

The waters in which British Heritage was accosted are claimed by Iran and by the United Arab Emirates. It is not possible for British shipping to go through the Straits without entering Iranian waters.

Speaking about the latest confrontation, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the strait of Hormuz.”

HMS Montrose was “forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” the statement said. “We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region.”

Iran has rejected the claims. Foreign minister Javad Zarif called the British allegations “worthless” in remarks to the semi-official Fars news agency. “Apparently the British tanker has passed. What [the British] have said themselves and the claims that have been made are for creating tension and these claims have no value,” Zarif said.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also issued a statement denying involvement.

The UK is waiting to hear detailed proposals from the US about a new international maritime security operation across the Gulf but ministers appear to be nervous about the implications of the plans, pointing to the existing 33-nation coalition on shipping.

The US proposal is likely to include a requirement for Asian countries to do more financially to subside the security operation, with Washington pointing out that a huge proportion of oil travelling through the Gulf is destined for Asian markets.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, appeared to recognise the difficulty the UK faced in protecting its maritime shipping due to successive defence budget cuts. He tweeted: “Latest incident with Iranian boats in the Gulf shows exactly why we must invest more in defence. We have run down our Navy too much and this must now be urgently reversed. We need to show confidence in the world by putting our money where our mouth is!”

Tehran has been accused of sabotaging oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in an attempt at economic retaliation against the US after Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear agreement and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Washington and Tehran came close to direct military conflict last month, when Iran shot down a US drone and Trump ordered retaliatory airstrikes, only to call them off minutes beforehand.

The UK and other European countries have been trying to save the deal, in which Tehran agreed to limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Russia and China, both signatories to the nuclear agreement along with the UK, France and Germany, called for restraint. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “freedom of navigation should be ensured in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz”.

#Turkey #China #Russia #Iran #S400 #NATO #NewSilkRoad #Uighur: Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King!

Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King | Pepe Escobar | ASIA TIMES | 11 July 2019

Erdogan looks set to buy Russian missile defense system in defiance of US and NATO, tying his cart to China and Russia

The graphic image of Turkey pivoting away from NATO towards the Russia-China strategic partnership was provided, in more ways than one, by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing right after the G20 in Osaka.

Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King

President of Turkey Recep Erdogan, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on July 2, 2019. Photo: Turkish Presidency / Murat Cetinmuhurdar / Anadolu and AFP

Turkey is a key hub in the emerging New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Erdogan is a master at selling Turkey as the ultimate East-West crossroads. He has also expressed much interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by Russia-China, whose annual summit took place in Bishkek a few days before Osaka.

In parallel, against hell and high water – from threats of sanctions by the US Congress to NATO warnings – Erdogan never budged from Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 defense missile systems, a $2.5-billion contract according to Rostec’s Sergei Chemezov.

The S-400s start to be shipped to Turkey as early as this week. According to Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, their deployment should start by October. Much to Washington’s ire, Turkey is the first NATO member state to buy S-400s.

Xi, as he welcomed Erdogan in Beijing, stressed the message he crafted together with Putin in their previous meetings in St Petersburg, Bishkek and Osaka: China and Turkey should “uphold a multilateral world order with the United Nations at its core, a system based on international law.”

Erdogan, for his part, turned up the charm – from publishing an op-ed in the Global Times extolling a common vision of the future to laying it out in some detail. His target is to consolidate Chinese investment in multiple areas in Turkey, directly or indirectly related to Belt and Road.

Turkey’s President Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walk past honor guards during an official welcome at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 2. Photo: Volkan Furuncu / Anadolu / AFP

Addressing the extremely sensitive Uighur dossier head on, Erdogan deftly executed a pirouette. He eschewed accusations from his own Foreign Ministry that “torture and political brainwashing” were practiced in Uighur detention camps and would rather comment that Uighurs “live happily” in China. “It is a fact that the peoples of China’s Xinjiang region live happily in China’s development and prosperity. Turkey does not permit any person to incite disharmony in the Turkey-China relationship.”

This is even more startling considering that Erdogan himself, in the past decade, had accused Beijing of genocide. And in a famous 2015 case, hundreds of Uighurs about to be deported from Thailand back to China ended up, after much fanfare, being resettled in Turkey.


Read more: Muslim countries prove dangerous for Uighur exiles


New geopolitical caravan

Erdogan seems to have finally realized that the New Silk Roads are the 2.0 digital version of the Ancient Silk Roads whose caravans linked the Middle Kingdom, via trade, to multiple lands of Islam – from Indonesia to Turkey and from Iran to Pakistan.

Before the 16th century, the main line of communication across Eurasia was not maritime, but the chain of steppes and deserts from Sahara to Mongolia, as Arnold Toynbee wonderfully observed. Walking the line we would find merchants, missionaries, travelers, scholars, all the way to Turko-Mongols from Central Asia migrating to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They all formed the stuff of interconnection and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia – way beyond geographical discontinuity.

Arguably Erdogan is now able to read the new tea leaves. The Russia-China strategic partnership – directly involved in linking Belt and Road with the Eurasia Economic Union and also the International North-South Transportation Corridor – considers Turkey and Iran as absolutely indispensable key hubs for the ongoing, multi-layered Eurasia integration process.

A new Turkey-Iran-Qatar geopolitical and economic axis is slowly but surely evolving in Southwest Asia, ever more linked to Russia-China. The thrust is Eurasia integration, visible for instance via a frenzy of railroad building designed to link the New Silk Roads, and the Russia-Iran transportation corridor, to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea and, eastwards, the Iran-Pakistan corridor to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of Belt and Road’s highlights.

This is all being supported by interlocking transportation cooperation agreements involving Turkey-Iran-Qatar and Iran-Iraq-Syria.

The end result not only consolidates Iran as a key Belt and Road connectivity hub and China’s strategic partner, but also by contiguity Turkey – the bridge to Europe.

As Xinjiang is the key hub in Western China connecting to multiple Belt and Road corridors, Erdogan had to find a middle ground – in the process minimizing, to a great extent, waves of disinformation and Western-peddled Sinophobia. Applying Xi Jinping thought, one would say Erdogan opted for privileging cultural understanding and people-to-people exchanges over an ideological battle.

The flags of China and Turkey flutter in Beijing during Erdogan’s visit to China on July 2. Photo: Wang Xin/ ImagineChina / AFP

Ready to mediate

In conjunction with his success at the court of the Dragon King, Erdogan now feels emboldened enough to offer his services as mediator between Tehran and the Trump administration – picking up on a suggestion he made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20.

Erdogan would not have made that offer if it had not been discussed previously with Russia and China – which, crucially, are member signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).

It’s easy to see how Russia and China should consider Turkey the perfect mediator: a neighbor of Iran, the proverbial bridge between East and West, and a NATO member. Turkey is certainly much more representative than the EU-3 (France, UK, Germany).

Trump seems to want – or at least gives the impression of imposing – a JCPOA 2.0, without an Obama signature. The Russia-China partnership could easily call his bluff, after clearing it with Tehran, by offering a new negotiating table including Turkey. Even if the ineffective – in every sense – EU-3 remained, there would be real counterbalance in the form of Russia, China and Turkey.

Out of all these important moves in the geopolitical chessboard, one motivation stands out among top players: Eurasian integration cannot significantly progress without challenging the Trumpian sanction obsession.

 


source: Sultan shines in the court of the Dragon King | Pepe Escobar | ASIA TIMES | 11 July 2019


 

#UN #InternationalLaw #RomeStatute #Impunity: Return of #Famines and Pursuit of #Accountability!

The Return of Famines and the Pursuit of Accountability | UK HUMAN RIGHTS BLOG | 11 July 2019

The ‘F’ word is back in use, famines have returned. In 2017 the UN identified four situations of acute food insecurity that threatened famine or breached that threshold, in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. In December 2018 famine was formally declared across regions of Yemen, this is likely to be the famine that will define this era. Starvation is also being used as a weapon of war in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. People living in the Gaza Strip and in Venezuela also suffer from the manipulation, obstruction and politicization of food and humanitarian aid. 

The current scale of suffering and death as a result of these crimes is unprecedented in modern history: Yemen alone promises to be the most severe famine in living memory, with recent news of the World Food Programme having to suspend some of their operations due to the obstruction and diversion for profit of their food aid. The statistics are dire with 400,000 severely and acutely malnourished children under the age of five. Yet recognition of the deliberate nature of famine, attribution of fault and accountability remains elusive.

We are at the start of a long road to criminalise starvation in a way that properly recognises the causes, identifies the culprits and correctly labels their crimes. Despite the birth of modern international criminal law over the last 25 years, there has been a dearth of prosecutions for starvation crimes. As we have seen with all kinds of international crimes, the relevant conduct needs to move beyond the confines of the battlefield and the classroom and into the courtroom. Then the law may be identified, clarified, and codified so that a belligerent warlord or a government supplying arms used to starve become fearful of its reach.

In a legal policy paper recently issued by Global Rights Compliance(GRC), we set out in more detail the reasons behind the dearth of prosecutions and explore the paths to prohibition and accountability for the widespread and systematic death and suffering that it causes worldwide, with a focus on criminal prosecutions.

The Crime of Starvation under the Rome Statute

Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) criminalises:

Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions.

A detailed analysis of the elements of the crime, including the crux of the offence, the specific intent to starve as a method of warfare, can be found here.

For the purposes of this post I will focus on the central question often posed by civil society groups documenting and collecting on the ground and multilateral organisations engaged in accountability and analysis:

how to identify the specific intent of the crime of starvation in a multi-causal environment?

An intention to starve may develop extemporaneously in the course of otherwise lawful or unlawful conduct, in which case the task of the tribunal will be to disentangle the intention to starve from multiple coexisting purposes (whether lawful or unlawful). There are challenges with any trial, especially those that seek to describe joint action and criminal purposes that span hundreds of kilometres and the actions of hundreds if not thousands of combatants and civilians. Notwithstanding that, assessing an accused’s acts and conduct in the midst of complex, fluctuating circumstances and contributory factors as part of regional or even countrywide enterprises are the bread and butter of ICL.

In the legal policy paper, we set out a four-point guide which can serve as an index of intent in the context of starvation. Following these indices are likely to provide cogent evidence of a perpetrator’s intent, criminal or otherwise:

  1. Awareness of the risk that an interference with objects indispensable to survival would lead to starvation (including whether the deprivation occurs in pursuit of an ostensibly lawful purpose);

  2. Respect for the full range of relevant IHL prohibitions (e.g., the prohibition against terrorising the civilian population; the prohibition against collective punishment; the prohibition on the use of human shields and the prohibition against displacement);

  3. The respect for IHL principles that create positive obligations applicable in the context of the conduct of hostilities; and

  4. The concrete steps taken (or not taken) by the alleged perpetrator to ameliorate civilian suffering, particularly through the facilitation of access of the civilian population to objects indispensable to survival. 

In assessing the four indices above, pertinent considerations will include: the nature, manner, timing and duration of any deprivations or attacks on civilians, including whether such attacks were long-term, persistent and/or indiscriminate; whether the attacks were widespread or perpetrated by single or many military components; and whether they took place as part of a campaign that systematically targeted the victims, including on account of their membership in a particular group. This analysis should encompass all relevant issues, including the general context, the repetition of destruction and discriminatory acts, attacks against civilians more generally, involving a range of modes of perpetration, the scale of those attacks, and relevant policies or speeches encouraging the targeting those civilians.

The challenge for any ICC prosecutor in an Article 8(2)(b)(xxv) case will be to discern whether the alleged perpetrator, whilst pursuing other lawful or unlawful purposes, such as attacking objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population which are also used in supporting military action, or in besieging areas primarily to starve out combatants to hasten their surrender, nonetheless alsointended to starve the civilian population as a method of warfare. In the event that the evidence establishes this criminal intent, the concurrent existence of other purposes will not insulate an accused from a finding of criminal responsibility. Notwithstanding that the process of disentangling these various purposes in order to ascertain an intent to starve is likely to be complex, these challenges are common across war crimes cases at the international and national level.

Conclusion

A starvation trial, whilst long overdue, is not the panacea, they are but one part of the journey. We must look more broadly at the full suite of transitional justice and accountability tools. However, we must first deal with the misconceptions surrounding starvation that conveniently lapse into inertia and fatalism. Accountability will start to debunk the myths that circle starvation. Climate, overpopulation, poverty, pre-existing food insecurity, or that starvation is purely an African problem, need to be re-assessed and roundly dismissed. Only when an understanding of the man-made causes of starvation emerges, can we expect change.

Notwithstanding our analysis of the crime and the clarity we aim to bring to practitioners, it is only when starvation enters the legal zeitgeist will prosecutions produce a more singular definition of the crime of starvation. Only once there is legal precedent on how to apply the law to the facts on the ground, will we have the tools to authoritatively understand the contours of the offence.

This blog piece draws heavily on Global Rights Compliance’s (GRC) legal policy paper and a forthcoming article in the Journal of International Criminal Justice (JICJ) drafted by GRC’s managing partner Wayne Jordash QC, and GRC lawyers Catriona Murdoch, Margherita Stevoli, Joe Holmes and Anna Mykytenko. The legal policy paper is part of a Starvation Compendium being launched this month. The Policy Papers are part of the project run by GRC and the World Peace Foundation, entitled “Accounting for Mass Starvation: Testing the Limits of the Law” supported by The Kingdom of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information and access to the Starvation Compendium Papers see www.starvationaccountability.org. The views expressed in this post and the Starvation Compendium are those of the author(s) and may not coincide with the official position of The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For more information on the Project please visit www.starvationaccountability.org. For more information on the Project Partners please visit www.globalrightscompliance.comand https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/. To listen to the Law Pod UK podcast on starvation as a weapon of war please visit here.


source: The Return of Famines and the Pursuit of Accountability | UK HUMAN RIGHTS BLOG | 11 July 2019


 

15 years after #ICJ declared #SeparationWall illegal #WestBank barrier continues to destroy #Palestinian lives!

15 years after ICJ declared Separation Wall illegal, West Bank barrier continues to destroy Palestinian lives |  | MONDOWEISS | 10 

Tuesday July 9th marked the fifteenth anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision to declare the Israeli separation wall in occupied Palestinian territory as illegal under international law.

Israel began construction of the separation wall, known by many as the Israeli “Apartheid Wall”, in 2002 in the middle of the Second Intifada. Israeli officials said the wall was a necessary “security precaution against terrorism” from Palestinian attackers coming from the West Bank.

But with the construction of the wall, came unprecedented demolitions of Palestinians homes along the planned route, massive land confiscations, and the division of dozens of Palestinian communities along the Green Line.

In 2004 the ICJ issued a non-binding advisory opinion that Israel should immediately stop construction on the wall, and should pay reparations for any damage caused.

While the court recognized that Israel was facing acts of violence against its civilians, it said that the Israeli government was violating its responsibilities under international law as the occupying power of the Palestinian territory.

After one year of inaction by Israeli authorities following the ICJ decision, Palestinian activists launched the now infamous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, known as the BDS Call, on July 9, 2005.

In an interview with the Guardian last year, Ingrid Jaradat, one of the founding members of BDS, said “If there had been action on the part of the international community to implement the ICJ ruling, there wouldn’t have been a BDS call.”

Fifteen years on, despite the court’s ruling and widespread international criticism of the wall, and it continues to be built across the West Bank, tearing communities apart and separating Palestinians from their land.

The immeasurable impact of the wall

In the years since the construction of the wall, which stands at 26ft at its highest points — more than double the height of the Berlin Wall — Palestinians in the West Bank have relentlessly protested against its construction, arguing that it seeks to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security.

Initially presented by Israeli authorities as a temporary security measure to run along the route of the Green Line, the wall has substantially deviated eastward, weaving through Palestinian towns and villages along the West Bank border with Israel.

The route of the wall, including planned sections, sections under construction, and those already built, spans 712 kilometers — more than twice the length of the Green Line, which is 320 kilometers long.

According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 85% of the barrier runs inside West Bank territory, and has paved the way for the Israeli takeover of 10% of the West Bank.

“If construction is completed along the entire planned route, 52,667.7 hectares of land – an area that is equal to 9.4% of the West Bank and includes the territories that Israel annexed to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem – will be cut off from the West Bank,” the group said.

When the wall was built, B’Tselem said, it cut off around 150 Palestinian families from their land, and isolated some 11,000 Palestinians living in 32 communities caught in seam zones between the wall and the Green Line. It has completely sealed Palestinians in East Jerusalem from their surrounding communities in the West Bank, and vice versa.

Severely restricting the movement of millions of West Bank Palestinians, the wall has further entrenched Israel’s permit regime, forcing any Palestinian who wants to cross into Jerusalem or Israel for work, medical reasons, or even visiting family on the other side of the wall to apply for an Israeli permit first — the large portion of which are denied for “security reasons.”

B’Tselem:

The construction of the barrier within the West Bank has violated multiple human rights of the Palestinians who live on either side of it. Among other things, it curtails their freedom of movement, consequently impinging upon their rights to work, education, medical care, family life, earning a living and an adequate standard of living. The Palestinians’ collective right to self-determination is also violated, as the winding route of the barrier cuts into Palestinian space and breaks up the population living there.


Source: 15 years after ICJ declared Separation Wall illegal, West Bank barrier continues to destroy Palestinian lives |  | MONDOWEISS | 10 


 

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