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Friday, November 24, 2006

Louise Arbour, Louise Arbour, GO HOME!

The UN 'High Commissioner' for 'Human Rights,' Louise Arbour, who earlier this week refused to meet with the families of kidnapped IDF soldiers Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, yesterday decided that Israel is 'more to blame' than Hezbullah for human rights violations during the war in Lebanon.

When she was asked by the Jerusalem Post whether there is a distinction under 'human rights law' between missile attacks aimed at killing civilians and military strikes in which civilians are unintentionally killed, Arbour said that the two could not be equated.
"In one case you could have, for instance, a very objectionable intent - the intent to harm civilians, which is very bad - but effectively not a lot of harm is actually achieved," she said. "But how can you compare that with a case where you may not have an intent but you have recklessness [in which] civilian casualties are foreseeable? The culpability or the intent may not sound as severe, but the actual harm is catastrophic."

...

According to criminal law, "there is very little distinction between recklessness and intent," she said. "It is a small distinction as to whether you desire the result, or you foresee it as virtually certain and you do not care. In terms of culpability there is not a lot of difference between recklessness and intent."

Arbour indicated that this could mean that Israel was guilty of human rights violations for its actions in Lebanon.

"When you kill civilians virtually each time [in a military attack], at some point you have to ask yourself, 'Wasn't that foreseeable that so many would be killed?" she said. "That is where I think you start having to engage in the possibility that it is somewhat culpable."
I'm not a criminal lawyer, but criminal law is a course that's required in law school, and there is a huge difference between recklessness and intent. When there is intent there is mens rea (evil intent) that is culpable, which does not exist when there is recklessness. This is in line with Human Rights' Watch saying this week that the 'Palestinians' human shield tactic in Gaza is a war crime, but Israel is not allowed to do anything about it. In fact, Arbour blames Israel for the situation in Gaza too, and does not even mention the fact that the 'Palestinians' are using their civilians as human shields:
She blamed much of the human rights problem in Gaza on the "policies and practices" relating to Israel's security measures, as well as the fiscal constraints imposed on the Palestinians by Israel and the international community.

In suggesting corrective measures for the situation, Arbour focused mostly on steps Israel must take to improve life for the Palestinians.

Outside of condemning the Kassam attacks, she said little about what improvements the Palestinians must make.

The Palestinians, Arbour said, were in need of measures of redress in instances where lethal force has been used.

"It is imperative that there is a system of accountability available to Palestinians allowing for investigations, which are law-based, independent transparent and accessible," she said. In such a system, reparations should be made to the victims and the perpetrators of those violations should be held accountable, she said. Such accountability, "including personal criminal accountability," would lead to a change in the use of force, she added.
She also wants Israel to give up the 'security fence' - and for that matter any other measure that keeps 'Palestinian' terrorists out of Jerusalem and out of the areas within the green line. This despite the fact that Islamic Jihad admits that they are saving lives:
Arbour called for "freedom of movement" for Palestinians within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Gaza. She said she was particularly concerned about the lack of Palestinian access to Jerusalem.

Arbour said Israel should remove the obstacles that prevent foreign passport holders, including those of Palestinian origin, from entering the West Bank. She called on Israel to "discharge its obligation toward all individuals in Israel, including the Palestinian citizens."
All in all a biased performance - just what you would expect from the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel UN. OOOM SHMOOM!

Update 2:46 PM

Ted at Israpundit pointed me to this article at Canada.com, in which Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz called for Arbour's resignation four months ago:
When terrorists use civilians as human shields, it is the terrorists who are criminally responsible for the "foreseeable" deaths of the civilian shields. Arbour may have missed the criminal law class in which this issue was considered, but Canadian law -- like the law of all civilized nations -- holds the bank robber, not the policeman guilty of murder, when the robber takes a hostage and the policeman kills the hostage in an effort to stop the robber from shooting at innocent bystanders. The same should be true of international law.

...

Arbour will surely respond that she meant to include Hezbollah and Hamas leaders among those who should be subjected to criminal prosecution along with the Israelis. But her nominally neutral comments mask the fact that there is an enormous difference between terrorists who seek to maximize civilian casualties and democracies that seek to minimize them. Moreover, as Arbour knows full well, terrorist leaders cannot realistically be subjected to criminal prosecutions because they are underground, while democratic leaders live and travel openly.

Louise Arbour is part of the problem, not part of the solution. She should be replaced as High Commissioner for Human Rights before she does even more harm to the ability of democracies to combat terrorism within the rule of law.
Read the whole thing.

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