WBEZ | Doug Cassel http://www.wbez.org/tags/doug-cassel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Attorney General Eric Holder speaks about targeted killings of U.S. citizens http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-06/attorney-general-eric-holder-speaks-about-targeted-killings-us-citizens- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-06/AP120305141703.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Attorney General <a href="http://www.justice.gov/ag/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Eric Holder</a> broke the Obama administration’s silence on the legal justification for its decision to kill American-born al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki yesterday. In a speech at <a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Northwestern University Law School</a>, Holder said the decision to kill al-Awlaki in Yemen five months ago "is among the gravest that government leaders can face.” He justified the action as legal and sometimes necessary in the war on terror. Holder accused al-Awlaki of concocting plans to kill Americans, but he never explicitly acknowledged how the administration responded by targeting the cleric for death. Instead, the attorney general outlined a three-part test to determine the legality of killing targeted U.S. citizens.<em> Worldview </em>takes a closer look at Holder’s speech with our human rights contributor, <a href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/douglass-cassel/">Doug Cassel</a>.</p></p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-06/attorney-general-eric-holder-speaks-about-targeted-killings-us-citizens- Libya and the ICC: peace, prevention and justice http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-08/libya-and-icc-peace-prevention-and-justice-83437 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/109775847.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Amid the bombs and bloodshed in Libya, it would be easy to overlook the historic action taken ten days ago by the United Nations Security Council.&nbsp;The Council not only condemned human rights violations, ordered a freeze on Libyan assets overseas, imposed an arms embargo and banned travel by Muammar Qaddafi and his cronies, but it also &ndash; unanimously &ndash; referred the Libyan situation to the International Criminal Court.</p> <div>Some might dismiss the threat of prosecution as nothing more than a yelp of impotence by a world community not yet willing to act more forcefully to protect a people from its dictator.&nbsp;If so, this would not be the first time.&nbsp;During the war in Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council repeatedly condemned atrocities, but delayed two years, until 1993, before finally establishing an international tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>More recently, mayhem reigned in Darfur for two years before the Security Council finally managed, in 2005, to refer the situation to the ICC.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Neither case saw timely and effective military action.&nbsp;Now, once again, rebel pleas for a no-fly zone over Libya have gone unanswered.&nbsp;It is easier to threaten prosecution.&nbsp;But any trial will come too late to save countless lives.&nbsp;For hundreds of Libyans shot dead by the hired guns of the Prince of Princes, it is already too late.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Even so, we are much closer to justice than we were at comparable stages in Yugoslavia and Darfur.&nbsp;And the ICC referral may yet help to curb the killing.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Libyan referral suggests that the United Nations &ndash; and its big powers &ndash; may have learned some lessons.&nbsp;In Yugoslavia and Darfur, the Council took two years to refer the situations for prosecution.&nbsp;In Libya, it took less than two weeks.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And now justice can move much more swiftly.&nbsp;Unlike the situations in Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990&rsquo;s, the world now has an up-and-running international criminal court.&nbsp;This avoids the start-up delay suffered in Yugoslavia.&nbsp;Even after finally agreeing to establish a tribunal in 1993, the Security Council took three months to approve its statute and then another 15 months to bring on board a prosecutor, Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa. &nbsp;Understandably, Judge Goldstone then required months more to hit his stride.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In contrast, today hundreds of professionals experienced in investigating atrocities are already at work in The Hague.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina seems to have learned some lessons of his own.&nbsp;When the Council referred Darfur to him in 2005, he took months to recommend opening a full investigation, and nearly two years to recommend indictments.&nbsp;But now, after the Libyan referral, he took only five days to recommend opening a full investigation.&nbsp;(His recommendation must now go before a three-judge pretrial chamber for approval.)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Libyan referral also enjoys unprecedented support by three veto powers on the Security Council: the United States, China and Russia.&nbsp;When the ICC formally came into being in 2002, it faced aggressive hostility from Washington.&nbsp;The Bush Administration withdrew the US signature from the ICC treaty.&nbsp;Threatening aid cut-off&rsquo;s, US diplomats browbeat other countries to agree never to send US citizens to The Hague.&nbsp;Congress passed a law &ndash; still on the books &ndash; authorizing the President to use &ldquo;all necessary means&rdquo; to free any American who might be detained by the ICC.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>By 2005 the hysteria on the Potomac subsided.&nbsp;After fierce internal debate, the Bush Administration agreed not to block the Security Council referral of Darfur to the ICC.&nbsp;Rather than either veto or vote yes on the referral, the US abstained, thus allowing the referral to take place.&nbsp;So did China and Russia.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Now all three powers have for the first time voted affirmatively to refer a situation to the ICC (even if, sadly, the price of their support is a gratuitous proviso that the referral does not authorize trials of non-Libyans).</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Qaddafi may well never be brought to justice. He says he will fight to the death.&nbsp;But not all his henchmen are equally fanatical.&nbsp;If the war goes badly, some may choose arrest instead.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The ICC referral also includes modest incentives to halt the bloodshed.&nbsp;The Security Council resolution pointedly refers to article 16 of the ICC Statute, under which the Council has the power to defer any ICC investigation for renewable 12-month periods.&nbsp;The implicit message to Qaddafi: agree to step down and stop the killing, and we may spare you from the dock.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In announcing that he has seen enough evidence to warrant a full investigation, prosecutor Moreno Ocampo explicitly warned Qaddafi&rsquo;s military chiefs, &ldquo;If forces under their command commit crimes, they could be criminally responsible.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Threats of prosecution will not dissuade a deluded dictator from the fight of his life.&nbsp;Whether they may be heard by others in Tripoli remains to be seen.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Not only does the ICC open the door to eventual justice, then, it also gives the world another diplomatic tool for peace.&nbsp;Whether or not it proves to have any effect in Libya, the world has at last learned how to put it swiftly in play.&nbsp;It is not the only tool, and may not be the most important, but it is a welcome addition to our limited options for peace.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><p><a target="_blank" href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/douglass-cassel/"><em>Doug Cassel</em></a><em> is </em>Worldview&rsquo;s<em> human rights contributor and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame Law School. His comments are personal views and not necessarily those of Notre Dame Law School, the Center for Civil and Human Rights or WBEZ.</em></p></p> Tue, 08 Mar 2011 18:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-08/libya-and-icc-peace-prevention-and-justice-83437 Doug Cassel on what sparked the current Middle East uprisings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-18/doug-cassel-what-sparked-current-middle-east-uprisings-82529 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/109233729.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>No region in the world is as ripe for revolution as the Arab Middle East.&nbsp;Its political, economic and social mix could not be more explosive: longstanding political repression, high poverty and unemployment rates, and diminishing hope for a youthful, rapidly rising and ever more educated population.&nbsp;</p> <div>&nbsp;All that was needed was a detonator.&nbsp;For the successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the spark was understood far better by young rebels than by aged tyrants.&nbsp;Yes, Hosni Mubarak must know something of the internet.&nbsp;But is he on Facebook?&nbsp;Does he think of Twitter as merely an innocent sound uttered by the bird of paradise?</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arab rulers threatened by revolution &ndash; both recently toppled dictators like Egypt&rsquo;s Mubarak and Tunisia&rsquo;s Zine Ben Ali, and currently challenged relics like Yemen&rsquo;s Ali Abdullah Saleh and Bahrain&rsquo;s King Hamad al Khalifa &ndash; did most of their dictating in the 20th century.&nbsp;In that benighted era, political organizing required a long, slow start-up.&nbsp;Before masses could take to the streets, rebels had to organize meetings of actual people in actual halls.&nbsp;Leaflets had to be physically printed and distributed.&nbsp;Such efforts could usually be nipped in the bud.&nbsp;Leaders were arrested, followers threatened, literature seized.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But the new century is different.&nbsp;Social networking on the internet can reach so many twenty-something&rsquo;s so quickly, that before the secret police have time to read their morning threat assessment, the regime confronts a million protesters in the heart of its capital.&nbsp;By then, as in Tunis and Cairo, it may already be too late to save the ancient regime.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Will this year of 2011, then, be for the Arab Middle East what 1989 was for Central Europe?&nbsp;It is too soon to tell; revolutions are not like Microsoft Word, jumping to the next paragraph before their human operator even knows what to write.&nbsp;History leaves room for accident, for national variation. There are no guarantees.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But the sands on which Arab rulers sit are treacherous.&nbsp;The most recent Arab Human Development Report, sponsored by the United Nations but independently authored by Arab intellectuals and scholars, warns of the &ldquo;alienation of the region&rsquo;s rising cohort of unemployed youth.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Rising cohort, indeed.&nbsp;Only four years ago there were fewer than 320 million Arabs &ndash; about the same as the population of the United States today.&nbsp;Four years from now, in 2015, the Arab population is projected to reach nearly 400 million &ndash; leaving the US far behind.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>A rapidly rising population means a youthful one.&nbsp;Sixty percent of Arabs are under the age of 25.&nbsp;The median age in Arab countries is only 22 &ndash; well below the global average of 28.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Arab baby boomers are increasingly educated.&nbsp;Only two decades ago in Egypt, for example, the literacy rate of youth aged 15-25 was only 63%.&nbsp;By 2005 their literacy rate soared to 85%.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ordinarily more educated populations would be cause for celebration.&nbsp;But what can young Arabs do with their degrees?&nbsp;Where will they find jobs?</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Their prospects are not promising.&nbsp;Despite wide variations among Arab countries, nearly all Arabs live in failed economies.&nbsp;Throughout the region the average poverty rate is 40%.&nbsp;In Egypt, whose 80 million people constitute by far the largest Arab state, the poverty rate exceeds 40%.&nbsp;In Yemen the picture is even worse: some 60% are poor.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In poverty-stricken Arab economies, good jobs for eager high school and university graduates are hard to find.&nbsp;In Egypt last year, the official unemployment rate was about the same as in the United States.&nbsp;&nbsp; But while our unemployment was at heights not seen since the Great Depression, in Egypt the same rate was actually better than in preceding years.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In other troubled Arab countries the official unemployment rate was even higher.&nbsp;In Tunisia last year, one of every eight adults was out of work.&nbsp;In wealthy Bahrain, one in seven had no jobs.&nbsp;In the economic desert of Yemen, more than one third of the population was unemployed.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Persistent poverty and absence of hope are not sustainable.&nbsp;The lid has been kept on Arab unrest only by tight repression: rigged or no elections, banning of most opposition parties, emergency decrees allowing arrest without judicial warrant and detention without charge, routine torture in police lock-ups, and little or no freedom of the press.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Washington-based Freedom House ranks all countries in the world as Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.&nbsp;By its tally the Arab Middle East is the least free region in the world.&nbsp;In 2010, not one Arab country was ranked as Free.&nbsp;Only three &ndash; Kuwait, Lebanon and Morocco &ndash; were even Partly Free.&nbsp;All the rest &ndash; at least until this year&rsquo;s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt &ndash; were Not Free.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And what about next year?&nbsp;Will this year&rsquo;s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt bring freedom, as in Poland and Czechoslovakia 20 years ago?&nbsp;Or, instead, will they usher in a new system of repression, as in Iran and Zimbabwe 30 years ago?&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>It is too soon to say.&nbsp;But our hearts and hopes must be with the young people who have already overthrown the likes of Zine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.&nbsp;If anyone can jump start the Arab world into the 21st century, they can.</div><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p><div><a target="_blank" href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/douglass-cassel/"><em>Doug Cassel</em></a><em> is </em>Worldview&rsquo;s<em> human rights contributor and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame Law School. His comments are personal views and not necessarily those of Notre Dame Law School, the Center for Civil and Human Rights or WBEZ.</em></div></p> Fri, 18 Feb 2011 18:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-18/doug-cassel-what-sparked-current-middle-east-uprisings-82529