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The following Open Letter to the Lord Mayor of The Hague was published in the largest newspaper in The Hague, 'Haagsche Courant'. 


TO THE LORD MAYOR AND CITIZENS OF THE HAGUE
An Open Letter and Petition 
from 
Americans for International Justice Committee 

Published in: "Haagsche Courant"
on 23 July 1996.

For several centuries Holland had been regarded as one of the most civilized nations. The Hague in particular has been the seat of the World Court in the current century, a court distinguished by the application of Law to relations and disputes between nations and states. The City and the Court became intertwined, epitomizing some of the most admirable legacies of the Western Civilization itself. The cases heard by the Court and its careful judicial rulings virtually defined International Law, a field now taught at most major universities. The World Court, as a global legal Officer, never engaged in advocacy; it never demanded reprisals; it left the acceptance of its rulings to the parties involved; it allowed simultaneous representations to all sides in a given dispute; it did not launder or argue its finding in public before or during judical review, while the concept of international military intervention to enforce its rulings remained alien to the World Court.

Right now, this magnificent legal bequest is being literally raped at The Hague, its respected home. Its image is being subverted by a would-be legal impostor, inserted deliberately into The Hague in search of a legal and cultural pedigree. It is presented as an international "Tribunal" on war crimes. It uses legal language. It has jurists on its panels. It has funds but, in fact, it is a fraud. It clearly has a mission which by its very nature has become a naked assault on Law itself.

Dealing with war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, it truncates the true historical context by eliminating all events before 1991, invoking the statues of limitations which do not apply to war crimes. Disregarding rules of evidence and established legal procedure, it investigates, indicts, prosecutes and renders sentence as a single body. It demands that arbitrary proclaimed war criminals be physically delivered to the "Hague Tribunal". It issues daily accusations to the world media against two particular leaders of a single ethnicity and religion in the three-part civil war in which all sides share in brutalities. It does not allow defense attorneys to challenge the accusations, by hiding itself behind a lack of mandate for trial-in-absentia. It is even demanding that the NATO troops in Bosnia hunt and arrest the two leaders at the risk of both military and civilian bloodshed. It is deliberately sustaining a worldwide media frenzy through which the accused are pronounced guilty by association and without a trial. It is destroying and making a mockery of the judicial system and secular legal tradition by pursuing its own political objectives.

Americans for International Justice Committee believes that the decent residents of the famous city and its highest elected officials are being deceived and dishonored by the presence in their midst of a would-be "court of law" conceived in mischief, and motivated by political expediency and bias. It embodies the imperial arrogance of powers whose leaders mistake might for right. We, therefore, respectfully petition the Lord Mayor and the citizens of The Hague to put the "Tribunal" on notice that, as presently constituted and operated, it debases the true Court's historic legacy and is no longer welcome in their city. The proclamation would attest in no uncertain terms that The Hague intends to remain the permanent home and guardian of International Law, fathered by the illustrious Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, whose immortal work 'De jure belli at pacis, 1625, (On the Law of War and Peace)', has been the guiding light in the slow and painstaking evolution on international legality and moratality. 
 

For: Americans for International Justice Committee 

Secretary - Dr. Raymond Kent Emeritus Professor of History University of California, Berkeley

San Francisco, 17 July 1996.


The truth belongs to us all.

Feel free to download, copy and redistribute. Last revised: April 11, 1997