March 21, 2005


Kofi's got a new plan for the UN.

It includes getting countries to live up to their financial commitments to developing nations, expanding the Security Council from 15 seats to 24 and how he wants a new Commission on Human Rights to replace the old one because---in Kofi's words---"{its} capacity to perform its tasks has been undermined by its declining credibility and professionalism.”

I could go forward and backward over this and say how much of it isn't new or won't work, but why waste my breath? We all know this. What I do find interesting in all of this b.s. is that Kofi proposed an actual definition of terrorism.

The report backs the definition of terrorism – an issue so divisive agreement on it has long eluded the world community – as any action “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”

Hmmmph. Kofi, of course, doesn't say what he would do with that definition or how the UN would be forced to act if the definition were invoked by a UN member, but that he commissioned a fleet of lawyers (God only knows what their price per hour was) to actually try and define terrorism is interesting. It brings to mind another UN-sponsored definition.

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;
  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

They weaseled out of that one easily enough in regard to Rwanda in 1994. Never mind the 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus that were murdered by the fanatic Hutus; it wasn't genocide as far as the UN was concerned, hence they weren't forced to act, as the Charter demands. Neither did this genocide definition stop what is still happening in Darfur. How easily could the UN weasel out of the terrorism definition, or use it to their own ends? I can see a few loopholes, but I'm not a lawyer. How could it come back to bite member states---like, say, the U.S.---in the behind?

I know there are a few lawyers in the audience. Give it your best shot.

(cross posted at Cake Eater Chronicles)

UPDATE: Peter Fonda offers up his two and a half cents worth on Kofi's reforms.

Posted by Kathy at March 21, 2005 12:42 PM

Don't ask me. I am one of those people who thinks we ought to send the U.N. to Geneva or Brussels and turn the property along the East River into commercial real estate.

Posted by: LMC at March 21, 2005 03:33 PM
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