May 25, 2017

BEYOND NUREMBERG: THE FUTURE OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Prince zeidWednesday, January 30, 2013

Time: 5:30 pm

Location: International Lounge, Usdan

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations, will deliver a Distinguished Lecture in International Justice and Human Rights. He will reflect on the development of international criminal justice since Nuremberg and the seeming challenge faced by tribunals in leading those convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes to acknowledge and repent of their crimes. The event will be moderated by Donald Ferencz of the Planethood Foundation, which has generously funded the Distinguished Lecture.

Prince Zeid is Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he held previously for six and a half years from 2000-2007. From 2007-2010 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States of America. He also served as Jordan’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, with the rank of Ambassador, from 1996-2000. Prince Zeid holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

In early 2009, Prince Zeid was asked by the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court to chair the closing stages of the negotiations to the “Crime of Aggression” — identified by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg as the “supreme international crime” – specifically with respect to its definition and the conditions for the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction over it, all necessary for the crime to become operational under the Rome Statute. Under the President’s leadership and guidance, those negotiations were brought to a successful conclusion and by consensus in Kampala, Uganda, in June 2010. Most recently, from March through to October 2011, Prince Zeid coordinated the search committee for the selection of the next prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. And also from 16 September 2010 to 7 March 2012 he was the Chairman of the “Country-Specific Configuration for Liberia” — the committee within the framework of the UN Peace Building Commission responsible for overseeing the transition from peacekeeping to the consolidation of peace in Liberia. He was also a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Council for the World Development Report 2011. He is married to Princess Sarah Zeid, and they have a son and two daughters.

This event is cosponsored by the Legal Studies, International & Global Studies and Peace, Conflict & Coexistence Departments, and the Heller School’s Coexistence and Conflict Program.

Do You Hear The People Sing?

Erica Hope

Protestors Arriving In Paris Square

For the past week, Israel has been covered in posters hypothetically asking, “Where were you on September 9th?” encouraging people to attend the “Million Man March”.  I will be able to proudly respond that I was one of 50,000 demanding social and economic justice in Jerusalem in solidarity with around 450,000 people protesting across the nation. To put this in perspective, this is roughly 8% of the population, or equal to 17 million Americans protesting at once.

Instead of recapping the origins and the goals of the social justice protests, sometimes dubbed j14th in honor of their July 14th beginning, you can read my first post on the topic. It also links to more substantial articles.
Many who support and analyze the movement viewed yesterday as crucial: Due to the escalation in the south the much-anticipated Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN this month, and heightened tension with Turkey, security concerns are once again first page news. Many predicted that the movement would quickly prove unsustainable under these conditions.

[Read more…]

Another Side to the War in Libya

By Tess Raser

Every year millions of people come to Italy to see the Vatican, Renaissance art, and UNESCO sites, and to eat fine cuisine. I studied abroad, in the southern Italian island of Sicily (the largest in the Mediterranean). People come here for the beautiful beaches, Mt. Etna—Europe’s largest, most active volcano – and again, of course, the food. These people are tourists.

However, there is also another new group coming to Italy these days, especially to Sicily. Most of the people in this group are not Catholic or even Christian and have little interest in making a pilgrimage to the Vatican. Many of them did not study Botticelli and Michelangelo in school and are not flocking to the Uffizi in Florence. These people are immigrants and refugees. Before I came to Sicily, I had an interest in immigration in Italy because I took a course on modern Italian culture at Brandeis before going abroad. Immigration is a new phenomenon in Italy as Italians, specifically Sicilians, emigrated to other countries. The Italian government does not know how to deal with immigration and because of this does not have as many restrictions against immigration as other European Union countries do (e.g. France and Switzerland).

With all of this information in mind, and curious to learn more, I decided to volunteer at a center for immigrants and refugees in Catania, during my free time. At the center I taught Italian to the newest arrivals. At first, in February, most of my students were from western Africa, countries like Mali and Senegal.  But then the war started in Libya.  Due to my close proximity to an American military base I would often hear and see helicopters headed toward Libya that was relatively nearby. The second experience I had of the war was one rainy day when I had two new students. The two new students were 17 year old girls of Eritrean descent. They spoke a bit of English and were relieved to have finally found someone else at Centro Astalli that could speak a common language. They also felt comfortable around me because of my age and my familiar East African appearance. [Read more…]

Video of the Crown Center’s Forum on the Middle East Uprising

If you missed the Crown Center’s excellent panel on events in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond, you can now see it here.

An Inner Perspective

By Khalil Azouz

On the morning of the 14th, people started pouring into Bourguiba avenue in Tunis. Most of them were in front of the Ministry of Interior, the authority that presides over the country’s police. Here’s one of the key moments during the protest, a video that still gives me chills:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEY8CK_K9VU

They are saying “Dégage” in unison. Dégage is a French word for “get lost.” They even used this word in Egypt even though they are not French speakers. A few hours after this, it was announced that the president stepped down.

Unfortunately, in the days leading up to this event and during the week following it, a sense of insecurity was prevalent throughout the country. Indeed, The Family ordered the release of thousands of prisoners who were instructed to loot and terrorize. Add to that the 3,000 strong presidential police force, some of whom were caught with sniper rifles. Presumably, they were hoping to cause chaos and possibly return to “save” the country. We never stopped to be reminded the extent of these people’s inhumanity. The army played a huge role in reinsuring security. People also formed neighborhood protection committees against these looters. A lot of the arrests were actually made by normal people who handed the thugs over to the army or what is left of the police. After about a week of insecurity, during which very few deaths were reported – most of the casualties occurred during the weeks leading to the 14th (over 200 deaths, 72 in prison riots) – things started to feel more normal. [Read more…]

Egypt and Global Freedom

By: Siddharth Joshi

[Edit: After a struggle much longer than Tunisia’s, the Egyptian people were finally rewarded as Hosni Mubarak stepped down, leaving the Army in charge until democratic elections can take place. The place to be on the 11th of February was definitely Tahrir Square, so fittingly named. Tahrir translates to ‘Liberation’ and I think this so beautifully captures the essence of what transpired on that day. The future is still uncertain, and by no means is the Egyptian revolution successfully complete, but it has taken a step that was unimaginable a year ago. Even though Tahrir Square is in Cairo, this feeling of liberation has spread far beyond the borders of Tunisia and Egypt. I had previously mentioned Jordan and Yemen, but the biggest protests of the day were seen in Tehran and Bahrain. Apparently, the internet has been shut down in Algeria, but we have learned from Egypt that it is no simple task to stop this call for freedom and liberty.]

Whether we are concerned with suffering born of poverty, with denial of freedom, with armed conflict, or with a reckless attitude to the natural environment everywhere, we should not view these events in isolation. Eventually their repercussions are felt by all of us. We, therefore, need effective international action to address these global issues from the perspective of the oneness of humanity, and from a profound understanding of the deeply interconnected nature of today’s world.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

It has been well known for some time now that world we live in is shrinking, I am sure that each and every one of us has experienced the effect of the unstoppable force of globalization. The IGS major, unique to Brandeis, is an acknowledgment of this force; we describe it as “an interdisciplinary program that provides students with an opportunity to understand the complex processes of globalization that have so profoundly affected politics, economics, culture, society, the environment, and many other facets of our lives.”

It is no longer important but simply necessary to take into account the changes that our world has undergone, and understand that we face the future together. It is important that our generation grows up as global citizens and deals with the many issues that will need to be contended with. We can act, in our own capacities, but at the same time we must take advantage of the opportunity of being at a place of learning as prestigious and full of potential knowledge as Brandeis is. It is important to fully understand this process before we leave for the real world to find our way and to the best of our ability, improve the world we enter.

This blog is an attempt to help comprehend globalization through reflection, conversation and insight from people who are closer to situations around the world, providing us with, hopefully, an array of perspectives with which to better understand events that will shape our future. [Read more…]

Keystroke Revolution Updates

by Mark Grinberg

Some updates on Egypt + Tunisia:

  1. Ha’aretz reports: One of the many kidnapped by the Mubarak regime was Google employee Wael Ghonim. He has been released and now claims responsibility for the original Facebook page that ignited all of the protests.
  2. Newsweek reports: The Open Technology Initiative is working to “dictator-proof” the internet by providing radio stations and other groups in the Arab world with technology to prevent total communication collapse in the event of a nationwide internet shutoff. Amongst the strategies: Mesh networking a-la-One Laptop Per Child – a type of networking that allows many computers to wireless daisy chain to each other, thereby restoring communication within the country. If one machine on the network has an internet connection, it is possible to share that connection via the mesh network. (though speeds would probably get incredibly slow) Other US-based groups plan to send satellite link hardware to get the internet via satellite.

Moral of the story? Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. don’t topple regimes – people do. And when the people are made stronger through improved communication, their ability to cause change is also strengthened. “Keystroke Revolution” does not mean a revolution from a computer, but with a computer.

Plugging In: Egypt and Tunisia

by Mark Grinberg at Flash Drive Terrorism

UPDATE: Anonymous has taken out Egyptian government websites.

Well, first off, I’m back for another semester!

Facebook Screenshot

Photocredit: Newsweek

There is so much that went on in the world during break, but I’m glad I took a few weeks off. Now it’s time to keep providing my readers with interesting stories. I thought I’d start with one of the topics I have been asked about most frequently lately: the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

To start – I want to make this clear – these revolutions are not cyber terror. However, the use of technology in the coordination and logistics of these revolutions has labeled them the “Facebook Revolutions.” This article will focus on a clear, no-nonsense guide to understanding what is going on in these countries, with my personal opinions emerging in various areas. We’ll also get into some of the comparisons between the two revolutions and debate whether or not this is a trend, and predict where the next “domino” will fall.

Status Quo: Common Situations

 The status quo prior to the revolutions in both countries is quite similar. I’ve provided data from the United States for comparison:

     
    Egypt
    Tunisia
    US
    Leader Hosni Mubarak Zine el Abidine Ben Ali Barack Obama
    Rule Began 1981 1987 2009
    Leader’s Ascension to Power Bloodless Coup Previous Leader Assassinated Election
    Independence Achieved 1956 1952 1783
    Average Age 24 years 29.7 years 36.8 years
    GDP – per capita (PPP) $6,200 $9,500 $47,400
    Unemployment 9.7% 14% 9.6%

What comparisons can be drawn between major statistics in Egypt and Tunisia? Both are countries with very young populations, low per capita income, and high employment. The leaders in the countries have held their positions for a long period of time. Mubarak and Ben Ali are both known for squelching opposition as it arose throughout their respective leadership terms. Both countries’ situations were very similar pre-revolution, a fact which supports a “domino effect” theory of these “Facebook revolutions.” (Data taken from the CIA World Factbook)

Sparks of Revolution

Most revolutions, wars, or other violent, chaotic events begin with some kind of spark to ignite the flame. In Tunisia, a man named Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself aflame in front of a police headquarters in Sidi Bouzid. At the age of twenty six, he was protesting against the police, who had mistreated him only an hour earlier.  His self-immolation caused mass rioting and protest in the city, which became the beginnings of revolution. In Egypt, protests took place on January 25th in response to National Police Day, eventually breaking out into violence as police used tear gas on the protesters.

In both cases, information from the Wikileaks documents proved important. In Egypt, a leaked cable went into details regarding the use of police brutality and torture. In Tunisia, Wikileaks contained information regarding the rampant corruption in the government.

Protesters Charge Cellphones

Protesters Charge Cellphones, Photocredit: New York Times

Facebook Revolutions

These are being called Facebook revolutions because in both cases, social networking sites have been used to spread the revolution and organize the resistance. In Tunisia, protests following Bouazizi’s self-immolation were recorded on Youtube and shared via Facebook. Those looking to respond to police brutality in Egypt rallied around Khaled Mohamed Saeed, who, according to witnesses, was beaten by the police in June of 2010. However, the police reported that he died in attempt to swallow a packet of marijuana while the police were pursuing him. A Facebook page was created in honor of Khaled Saeed, providing organization and a rallying point for future anti-government protests. Protesters in both Egypt and Tunisia utilized the internet and social networking sites to organize their rallies and protests as the revolutions proceeded. In Tunisia, this resulted in Ben Ali fleeing the country. The result of protests in Egypt has yet to be seen, but the government has cut internet service to the population by forcing all Egyptian internet service providers to basically unplug themselves. If the citizens are organizing via Facebook and the internet, what better way to stop resistance then to turnoff the internet?

Circumventing the Outages

Photocredit: Gawker Media

In Egypt, many citizens have begun to circumventing internet outages in the country in order to continue organizing the revolution and getting the word out. How are they doing this? [Read more…]

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