Saturday, July 22, 2006

Inter Arma Silent Leges

It is perhaps just as well for the country, though not perhaps for the United Nations, that Louise Arbour left the Supreme Court to become the top common scold of international law.

And it is just as well that she was not around for the Nuremburg trials, because she would have had Allied leaders thrown in the dock for not playing nice with the Nazis:

The scale of killing and maiming of civilians in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territory pointed to possible war crimes, the UN human rights chief said yesterday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said international humanitarian law was clear on the need to protect non-combatants in any conflict. "This obligation is also expressed in international criminal law, which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity," she said.

"The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control," she said, without directly accusing anyone.

In a statement, she expressed "grave concern over the continued killing and maiming of civilians in Lebanon, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory".

Ms Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court judge and war crimes prosecutor, said the "indiscriminate shelling" of cities and the bombing of sites where civilians would suffer were unacceptable.

Israel air strikes have accounted for most of the 327 deaths in Lebanon in the eight-day-old war which began after Hezbollah guerillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. The Lebanese Shia militia has rained rockets on northern Israeli towns and villages. Twenty-nine Israeli civilians have died in the violence.

It's clear whose side Ms. Arbour is on: Hezbollah's. The woman who scolds Israel for killing civilians whom Hezbollah deliberately put in harm's way as human shields for their rocket launchers can't tell an unavoidable tragedy from a war crime.

Or perhaps she can, but dares not admit her partiality towards Hezbollah, instead burying it under a load of scholastic and legalistic pieties.

Inter arma silent leges.

At least this particular legisperita should be.

Source: The Australian

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