A Fail Grade for UN Panel

Would the three panelists of the UN working group that found this week in Julian Assange’s favor pass a law exam at any serious law faculty?

Their reasoning is utterly shocking. They fail to note even the UK Supreme Court’s dismissal of his appeal against extradition, a rather reckless attitude to the rule of law and due process by the panel.

As to his current abode at the Ecuadorian embassy, they say this: “Placing individuals in temporary custody in stations, ports and airports or any other facilities where they remain under constant surveillance may not only amount to restrictions to personal freedom of movement, but also constitute a de facto deprivation of liberty.” They fail to note that no authority forced him to take up his current residence.

And then this astonishing statement: “It defeats the purpose and efficiency of justice and the interest of the concerned victims to put this matter of investigation to a state of indefinite procrastination.” Yes, and who was responsible for the procrastination?

The dissenter on the panel, Ukraine’s Vladimir Tochilovsky, deals with the embassy stay thus: “In fact, Mr. Assange fled the bail in June 2012 and since then stays at the premises of the Embassy using them as a safe haven to evade arrest. Indeed, fugitives are often self-confined within the places where they evade arrest and detention. This could be some premises, as in Mr. Assange’s situation, or the territory of the State that does not recognise the arrest warrant. However, these territories and premises of self-confinement cannot be considered as places of detention for the purposes of the mandate of the Working Group.” Quite.

Trying Saif al-Islam

“After nine months of preparing a case, Libya still appears ill equipped to give Saif al-Islam, the 40-year-old son and accomplice of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a fair trial.

The trial is slated to take place in Zintan, two hour’s drive from the capital, instead of Tripoli itself, part of a deal with the obdurate town’s militia that captured Saif…The fact that the trial will be in one of the strongholds of the revolution is adding to alarm, prompting further questions about the credibility of the procedure.” See my piece in the Daily Beast.

 

 

 

 

 

We Women Warriors

We Women Warriors

I received this today from independent journalist Nicole Karsin, who has done some fine work on human rights in Colombia.

“I would like to reach out in light of the upcoming Summit of the Americas (April 14-15), to put the spotlight on an important documentary film project, scheduled to premiere this summer.

We Women Warriors follows the lives of three native women leaders caught in the crossfire of Colombia’s warfare, who use nonviolent resistance to defend their people’s survival.

The film makes an excellent talking point given the President’s first visit to Colombia this week. Filmmaker Nicole Karsin will be actively speaking on issues addressed in the film and advocating participation in the National Day of Action for Colombia organized by a coalition of NGOs working to secure justice in Colombia.

The U.S. has given more than $8 billion in military aid to Colombia since 2000. In that time, some 30,000 civilians have been killed. With more than five million displaced, Colombia stands just behind Sudan as the world’s second worst internal displacement crisis in the world.

As a U.S. correspondent based in Colombia for seven years, Nicole reported on human rights issues in remote villages, and witnessed the conflict in Colombia firsthand. She also directly experienced the loss of friends to violence that erupted, and has since dedicated herself as a filmmaker to share this story.

We Women Warriors, now six years in the making, gives voice to the lives of women whose lives and communities are still imperiled by Colombia’s complicated drug war. We have 39 days to raise completion funds through Kickstarter, and we are mobilizing friends, colleagues and new supporters to join us to help bring this film to the public.

Please be in touch to get the conversation started. There are multiple ways to participate through Facebook, Twitter.”