“If you commit war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide you will not be able to rest easily in your bed: the reach of international justice is long and patient…. There is no expiry date for these crimes….” – William Hague, British foreign secretary
Eighteen months ago UK foreign secretary William Hague delivered an important speech at the Hague, home of the International Criminal Cour.
He was saying all the right things, for example:
“The rule of law is critical to the preservation of the rights of individuals and the protection of the interests of all states.”
“You cannot have lasting peace without justice and accountability.”
“International laws and agreements are the only durable framework to address problems without borders.”
“Such agreements – if they are upheld – are a unifying force in a divided world.”
He spoke of a growing reliance on a rules-based international system. “We depend more and more on other countries abiding by international laws…. We need to strengthen the international awareness and observance of laws and rules….”
Some emerging powers, he said, didn’t agree with us about how to act when human rights are violated on a colossal scale, while others didn’t subscribe to the basic values and principles of human rights in the first place. He was talking about Syria although many in the audience must have had Israel in mind.
“The international community came together in an unprecedented way to address the crisis in Libya last year,” said Hague. “The Arab League, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, the European Union, NATO and the International Criminal Court all stepped forward and played their part to protect a civilian population.”
Yeah. Funny how they have never come together for crisis-torn Palestine these last 65 years.