World Law for Equal Dignity (WLawED)

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.




We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WLawED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.



 

The significance of global law
by Lindner, 2004

As to global law, we might describe the current situation as follows (Lindner, 2004): At the beginning of industrialization many entrepreneurs lived in luxury and workers suffered abominable conditions. Entrepreneurs' wives often engaged in charity. Those wives placed small band-aids on the large wounds their husbands had inflicted. At the national level, this situation has improved in some parts of the world. In a number of countries, national laws and institutions represent superordinate structures that offer living conditions to all citizens which are considerably more dignified than during earlier periods of industrialization. However, in other parts of the world, and, particularly at the global level, such superordinate structures of global laws and institutions are gravely wanting.

At the current historic juncture, corporations transcend national borders and we witness the same lack of dignified living conditions globally that we earlier saw at national levels: we see obscene exploitation of the poor; children sold into bonded labor; unfair global trade rules and the a lack of free trade. At present, through the lack of fairness in global rules, we inflict large wounds, while humanitarian organizations play the role of the former charitable wives who offer small plasters. The solution, most presumably, lies in the same super-ordinate legal and institutional structures that remedy such obscenities at the national level: they may do so also at the global level.

More so, it is not only the global economic order that is as of yet in need of fair and dignified development, we furthermore have not yet created the police force at the global level that we consider to be normal at the national level, thus leaving us with war and violence. Bertram Wyatt-Brown writes in Honor, Shame, and Iraq in American Foreign Policy (2004): "We [Americans] claim to represent the principles of impartial rule of law; the value of self-expression over tribal, clan, and familial loyalty and conformity; and the necessity of mediating agencies. The nature of battle, though, leads military forces to act contrary to the democratic principles that we celebrate" (italics added).

These mediating agencies are needed, not only at the national level, but also at the global level. At present, these agencies are still rudimentary and too weak and therefore need to be developed.

Please see, among other literature, Howard Meyer's work: The World Court in Action: Judging Among the Nations. New York, Oxford, 2002: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. See a review of this book by Johannes van Aggelen in International and Comparative Law Quarterly, pp. 1045-46. See here a another review, by Jennifer R. Johnson and Ami Mudd.

See also Howard Meyer's The Amendment That Refused to Die: Equality and Justice Deferred: The History of the Fourteenth Amendment. New York, NY, 2000: Madison Books. Howard Meyers writes to Lindner (November 22, 2004), "My book on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution seems quite germane to aspects of Humiliation Studies. It was enacted, in effect,
to prevent further humiliation of the former slave in America...and took a hundred years to be given effect." Please see here a segment of the Afterword to the third, 2001 edition, downloaded from History News Network, entitled Does the 14th Amendment Mandate Affirmative Action?




 

 

UN reform proposals put forward as action plan by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on March 21, 2005

Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All
Executive Summary


III. Freedom to live in dignity
In the Millennium Declaration, Member States said they would spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. And over the last six decades, an impressive treaty-based normative framework has been advanced.
But without implementation, these declarations ring hollow. Without action, promises are meaningless. People who face war crimes find no solace in the unimplemented words of the Geneva Conventions. Treaties prohibiting torture are cold comfort to prisoners abused by their captors, particularly if the international human rights machinery enables those responsible to hide behind friends in high places. War-weary populations despair when, even though a peace agreement has been signed, there is little progress towards government under the rule of law. Solemn commitments to strengthen democracy remain empty words to those who have never voted for their rulers, and who see no sign that things are changing.
Therefore, the normative framework that has been so impressively advanced over the last six decades must be strengthened. Even more important, concrete steps are required to reduce selective application, arbitrary enforcement and breach without consequence. The world must move from an era of legislation to implementation.
Action is called for in the following priority areas:

.. Rule of law: The international community should embrace the “responsibility to protect”, as a basis for collective action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. All treaties relating to the protection of civilians should be ratified and implemented. Steps should be taken to strengthen cooperation with the International Criminal Court and other international or mixed war crimes tribunals, and to strengthen the International Court of Justice. The Secretary-General also intends to strengthen the Secretariat’s capacity to assist national efforts to re-establish the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies.

.. Human rights: The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should be strengthened with more resources and staff, and should play a more active role in the deliberations of the Security Council and of the proposed Peacebuilding Commission. The human rights treaty bodies of the UN system should also be rendered more effective and responsive.

.. Democracy: A Democracy Fund should be created at the UN to provide
assistance to countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democracy.


 

Messages from Howard Meyer

March 7, 2005:
This is a message from Howard Meyer to friends and colleagues who are concerned with peace activism, history and studies. It is inspired by a review of a book that tells about the early history of the War Resisters League (WRL):

The review's closing paragraph invites some ideas that may be useful in teaching Peace. Calling the story of the War Resisters League "required reading," the reviewer concludes: "Debates now rage over what strategy and tactics have and have not worked in the last three years, and observers ponder how to more effectively combat the current war machine. The example of the WRL offers valuable lessons ... better look to the WRL to see what has worked in the past and hope it can work again."

The following and the attachment "Give Law a Chance," are addressed to that closing paragraph. While the writer was working on his book THE WORLD COURT IN ACTION he had a chat with a fellow NGO rep at the UN.

The War Resisters League was mentioned. Why, it was asked, did these noble resisters avoid, (as most of the peace movement also avoided) mention of the World Court and its rulings (especially in Nicaragua vs U.S.) that reject use of 'self-defense' as a cover-up for acts of aggression.

My colleague suggested: many in the WRL are sympathetic to the anarchist view of society. To rest an argument on such legal institutions as International Law and its Court would not be welcomed with enthusiasm. [he did not use the word 'anarchist' pejoratively.)

In the review of the book THE WORLD COURT IN ACTION by a scholar chosen by H-NET, its writer was moved by the contents to assert that International law is a 'missing dimension in peace studies."

The work of the Court, as presented in the book THE WORLD COURT IN ACTION
demonstrates as no general argument could, the reality, the very existence of the Law of Nations, a point that the U S populace in general and its media in particular, just do not understand. (we have long forgotten, as Senator Moynihan went about the country arguing in the '80s. that we ever had a commitment to International Law)

The people of the United States are, for the most part law-abiding and elections have been won or lost on the issue of guarding "Law and Order." Were they shown the evidence in a particular situation that their country is not in compliance with the Law of Nations and taught that law is important for national security, such a demonstration would be of immense importance to the cause of peace.

Without ignoring the value of the actions of the War Resisters League and the self-sacrifice of it members, it could be argued that bringing about respect for
International Law might be more valuable in combating the war party.
Knowledge of the effectiveness of the World Court in bringing about compliance with the law it administers and the importance of the U.S. Peace movement's contribution to the very creation of the Court (warmly appreciated by the rest of
the world) would help to win that respect.

December 16, 2004:
The International Court of Justice ("World Court") in a group of decisions yesterday declined to pass on Serbia's complaint about the alleged illegality of the bombing conducted by NATO in behalf of the Kosovo affair: The ruling held that at the time of the bombing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in whose name the Serbia case was filed (as a nonmember, then, of the United Nations) did not have standing to sue. THE NEW YORK TIMES did not report these December 15 decisions today, December 16. Q. Hostility or indifference to International Law? For an answer, consult the just published The Record of the Paper by Howard Friel and Richard Falk.


 

Zahid Shahab Ahmed (personal message, 22nd March 2006):

Recently, I saw one of the Indian movies Lakshya, which is based on the most recent war (1999) between India and Pakistan. In the movie a soldier replied to the following question: why we go for a war? By saying, the one who created this planet, created it equal and undivided for everyone. But we human being divided it with weapons I am glad moon is not on our planet otherwise we could have divided it too.
...
We really have to encounter nationalism with globalism. I was thinking why not to give this nationality to people globalism or EWNS, because many must not be feeling comfortable carrying special passports while feeling being identified as a global citizen. Therefore, EWNS came into my mind: East West North South; means from all over the world.

 


 

Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on delicious.com. From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

Leitartikel: Kampf den Avataren, Der Spiegel 21, 19.05.2014
Google missbraucht seine Macht und muss daher von der Politik neue Regeln bekommen....Google baut digitale Avatare von uns und spielt mit denen das große Konsumspiel. Dies verletzt die Würde des Menschen, und die soll unantastbar sein, sagt das Grundgesetz. Der Europäische Gerichtshof hat eine richtige Entscheidung getroffen. Wer sich vor einem falschen oder veralteten Bild seiner Persönlichkeit schützen will, kann sich an die Suchmaschinen wenden. Aber das greift zu kurz und ist prinzipiell der falsche Ansatz. Nicht der Bürger muss sich gegen die Datenkraken stemmen, sondern der Staat. Datenschutz sollte ähnlich wie Umweltschutz zur vordringlichen Staatsaufgabe werden. Auch die Umwelt wurde über Jahrzehnte vergiftet, weil man es einer verantwortungslosen Industrie überließ, ihre Profite auf den Verbrauch natürlicher Ressourcen zu gründen, ohne dafür zu zahlen. Der Staat hat die Pflicht, nicht nur die natürlichen Ressourcen der Menschheit zu bewahren, sondern ebenso ihre persönliche Ressource, die Würde. Die Politiker müssen sich jetzt um eine digitale Weltordnung kümmern, einen Gesetzesrahmen, der Machtmissbrauch verhindert. ... Wenn nicht die Politik Google einen Rahmen setzt, dann setzt bald Google der Politik einen Rahmen. Und verändert die Demokratie, wie wir sie kennen...
Read more at http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-127078940.html.

The South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
The South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) is a civil society organization based in Juba. Its mission is to strive for justice in society and respect for human rights and the rule of law in South Sudan. The SSLS manages projects in a number of areas, including legal aid and paralegal training, human rights awareness-raising, and capacity-building for legal professionals, traditional authorities, and government institutions.

The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).

International Criminal Court 'Altered Behaviour'
The UN chief said there was a "new age of accountability." The International Criminal Court (ICC) has forced governments to alter their behaviour in the eight years of its existence, the UN chief has said....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/10196907.stm.

On the International Court of Justice, by Howard Meyer, December 4, 2008
Everything said in Roger Cohen's column December 4, on behalf of the International Criminal Court and condemining the redneck campaign to ignore our previous commitment to it, for which Tom Delay was point man, applies with full force to the ICJ, International Court of Justice, provided to discourage war by judging among the nations. That Court, created in response to a movement led by American peace (anti-war) organizations and American International Lawyers during the early decades of the 20th Century, has been scorned by political leaders in the U S who followed the path of the "irreconcileables", the senators who prevented (by torpedoeing the Treaty providing for it) U S affiliation with the I.C.J. and thereby helped bring on WWII by signalling to Hitler and his followers, that their road to war would be unobstructed.

Niger Ex-slave Wins Landmark Case
A West African court has found Niger's government guilty of failing to protect a woman from slavery in a landmark case for the region. The court found in favour of Hadijatou Mani, who says she was sold aged 12 and made to work for 10 years. A judge ordered the government - which says it has done all it can to eradicate slavery - to pay Ms Mani 10m CFA francs (£12,430; $19,750). Despite being outlawed, slavery also persists in other West African states...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7692396.stm.

Europe's Border-Free Zone Expands
Forty-eight hours of celebrations are taking place to mark nine new states joining a European border-free zone. The Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free travel across the area, now embraces 24 nations...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7153490.stm.

Rape Case Ruling Shocks Australia
A judge's decision not to jail nine men guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community has triggered outrage in Australia.
The offenders were either placed on probation or given suspended sentences for the 2005 rape in the Aurukun settlement, in northern Queensland...
The offenders came from some of the most powerful and prominent Aboriginal families in Cape York, while the victim's family had a lower status, The Australian reported...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7136269.stm.

Columbia Law School
Over the past ten years, Columbia Law School has significantly increased the number of programs offered in international and comparative law-from approximately 45 to 76 in 2005. The Law School now has a comprehensive program of study of legal systems by geographical area, including the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Center for Japanese Legal Studies, Center for Korean Legal Studies, and European Legal Studies Center. J.D. students have the opportunity to enroll in 13 semester study abroad programs in 11 countries around the world. This summer, Columbia Law School also became the first American law school to launch ABA-approved student-exchange programs with leading law schools in both Beijing and Shanghai: Peking University (Beida) and Fudan University.

International Court in First Case
The only permanent international war crimes court has opened its first hearing, in the case of a Democratic Republic of Congo militia leader.
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are to decide whether Thomas Lubanga should stand trial for allegedly recruiting child soldiers.
The five-year DR Congo conflict led to an estimated four million deaths.
The US strongly opposed the creation of the ICC, fearing the political prosecution of its soldiers.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6131198.stm.

Mubarak Warns on Saddam Execution
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned that hanging former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will lead to even more bloodshed in Iraq.
A Baghdad court condemned Saddam Hussein to death on Sunday for the killing of 148 Shia Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.
Mr Mubarak said hanging the former president would only exacerbate ethnic and sectarian divisions between Iraqis.
They are the first public comments on the sentence by an Arab leader.
"Carrying out this verdict will explode violence like waterfalls in Iraq," Mr Mubarak is quoted as saying by Egyptian state-run newspapers.
The verdict "will transform (Iraq) into pools of blood and lead to a deepening of the sectarian and ethnic conflicts," he said.
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/6134626.stm.

MI5 Tracking '30 UK Terror Plots'
MI5 knows of 30 terror plots threatening the UK and is keeping 1,600 individuals under surveillance, the security service's head has said.
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller warned the threat was "serious" and "growing".
She said future attacks could be chemical or nuclear and that many of the plots were linked to al-Qaeda.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said the terrorist threat was "very real" and spoke of "poisonous propaganda" warping the minds of young people.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/6134516.stm.

International Resonance of Iraq Verdict
Effect in Iraq uncertain
It appears unlikely that the outcome of the trial will materially alter the differing levels of warfare going on in Iraq - the jihadist attacks, the nationalist insurgency, the communal conflicts and the militia rivalries. These are too engrained and have too many deep causes to be changed by one event, however dramatic...
Criticism of court
The quality of justice in the case has however been questioned by some outside bodies.
Malcolm Smart, Director of the Middle East and North Africa for Amnesty International said: "Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and we deplore the death penalty in this case...
International legal pattern
The trial takes its place on the growing list of tribunals that are slowly but surely establishing a new body of international law that can be used against repressive rulers.
And looked at from this perspective, the trial perhaps assumes an international legal importance greater than its impact in Iraq itself.
One of the principles of the legal trend is that justice if possible should remain within the country affected.
However, this is not going to be possible in all cases. It was not possible in the former Yugoslavia or in Rwanda and this is why special courts were set up.
But in any event, pinning responsibility on someone is the key element.
Role of ICC
Now the International Criminal Court has been established.
The ICC was agreed in a treaty in 1998 signed by 100 countries (not including the United States). It is seeking to exert its authority in three cases.
These involve the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Sudan.
The first case is that of Thomas Lubanga, leader of a militia known as the Union of Congolese Patriots. He was the first person to be arrested under an ICC warrant and faces charges in the first instance of using child soldiers. His would be the first ICC trial.
In the second case, the main defendant Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, is still at large. He is accused of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and enslavement.
The third case is at an earlier stage. It involves, following a referral from the UN Security Council, an investigation of Sudanese government officials and generals in Darfur.
If the ICC can make a success of these cases, it will be on its way to showing that it will count. It already claims to be influential, with, for example, the Colombian army now having to take ICC concerns into account when planning operations against guerrillas.
There is therefore much more of a legal thicket surrounding major crimes involving governments these days.
The Saddam trial is part of that, whatever its successes or failures.
Update: I have had an e-mail asking about the ICC and the invasion of Iraq. The court reported in February this year that it had received 240 complaints about the invasion and its conduct. Many related to the British involvement since Britain is a party to the court treaty. The US is not, so US citizens can only be prosecuted if the crime takes place on the territory of a treaty member or if the issue is referred to the ICC by the Security Council.
The Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo replied that the crime of "aggression" had not yet been defined. He said the court had a mandate to examine conduct but "not whether the decision to engage in armed conflict was legal". As for the conduct of the war, he said that evidence presented about the number of wilful killings did not meet the "gravity threshold".
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/6118226.stm.

Joseph P. Baratta
Joseph P. Baratta (2004)
The Politics of World Federation
Vol.1: The United Nations, U.N. Reform, Atomic Control.
Vol. 2: From World Federalism to Global Governance

Westport, CT: Praeger
Please see here the Introduction to both volumes.
Please see here an editorial on the work of Joseph Baratta and Virginia Swain.