Global Justice or Global Revenge?
Criminal justice in the web of international power politics
Launching of transnational research network by the International Progress Organization
New Delhi / Vienna, 27 April 2009
Following consultations with officials of the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) in New Delhi, the President of the Vienna-based International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), Dr Hans Koechler, announced today the establishment of a transnational research network that will be devoted to issues of the evolving system of international criminal justice and the dangers of politicization of international courts.
In New Delhi, Dr Koechler met, among others, with the President of ISIL, Shri Ram Niwas Mirdha, former Deputy Minister of External Affairs of India; Mr. A. K. Ganguli, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India; and Shri C. Jayaraj, former Secretary-General of ISIL.
He briefed the interested Indian public on the second appeal in the case of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (Lockerbie case), which is due to begin tomorrow in Edinburgh, Scotland. A comprehensive analysis of the handling of the case by the extraterritorial court in the Netherlands and the subsequent developments will appear later this week in the National Law School of India Review (NLSIR). Two delegates of the International Progress Organization were appointed by the United Nations as observers of the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands.
The trial reports released by Dr Hans Koechler analyzed the Lockerbie proceedings as an exemplary case where the rule of law is threatened by considerations of international power politics. In the year 2001, Dr Koechler had suspected a miscarriage of justice, an evaluation that was later (in 2007) also expressed by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission which referred the case back to the appeal court.
Dr Koechler’s critical Lockerbie report was discussed in the ratification debate on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the British House of Commons in April 2001. Mrs. Cheryl Gillan MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Wales) asked the following question:
“What safeguards are there to reassure me that the element of politicization will not occur? (…) As recently as yesterday, our minds were focused on the politicization of courts. … The Times … contains a report about Hans Koechler, an expert on international law who acted as a United Nations observer at the Lockerbie trial. He condemned the proceedings of the trial as inconsistent, irrational and politically motivated …” (House of Commons, International Criminal Court Bill [Lords], Standing Committee D, Tuesday, 10 April 2001)
The research network of the International Progress Organization will also deal with questions of jurisdiction related to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in particular in view of the arrest warrants against officials of the Republic of the Sudan, including the country’s President, concerning the situation in Darfur. Basic questions as to the normative consistency of the Rome Statute and the Security Council’s being made an “agent of universal jurisdiction” – by virtue of the specific provisions of Arts. 12 and 13 – will also be analyzed. The President of the I.P.O. has earlier outlined the issues in a statement delivered to a bipartisan delegation of the United States Congress at the TransAtlantic Conference 2008 in The Hague (Netherlands), in a recent op ed article for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (United States), and in a paper prepared for a panel discussion at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna (Austria).
The deliberations of the I.P.O. research network will be based on the volume by Hans Koechler: Global Justice or Global Revenge? International Criminal Justice at the Crossroads (2003), which has been published in Austria, the United States, India and Turkey. An Arabic edition of the book is under preparation.
International Progress Organization