Archive for April 19th, 2015

19/04/2015

The Future of International Law (Part I)

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

“With law shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.” Njal’s Saga, Iceland, c 1270.

Abstract

After the invention of agriculture, roughly 10,000 years ago, humans began to live in progressively larger groups, which were sometimes multi-ethnic. In order to make towns, cities and finally nations function without excessive injustice and violence, both ethical and legal systems were needed.

**Agricultural scene from Ancient Egypt. | Author: Norman de Garis Davies, Nina Davies (2-dimensional 1 to 1 Copy of an 15th century BC Picture) | Wikimedia Commons.

**Agricultural scene from Ancient Egypt. | Author: Norman de Garis Davies, Nina Davies (2-dimensional 1 to 1 Copy of an 15th century BC Picture) | Wikimedia Commons.

Today, in an era of global economic interdependence, instantaneous worldwide communication and all-destroying thermonuclear weapons, we urgently need new global ethical principles and a just and enforcible system of international laws.

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19/04/2015

"There Are Still Judges…"

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

18 April 2015

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

THIS WEEK I won a dubious distinction: a groundbreaking Supreme Court judgment has been named after me.

It is an honor I would have gladly dispensed with.

MY NAME appeared at the head of a list of applicants, associations and individuals, which asked the court to cancel a law enacted by the Knesset.

Israel has no written constitution. This unusual situation arose right from the beginning of the state because David Ben-Gurion, a fierce secularist, could not achieve a compromise with the orthodox parties, which insisted that the Torah already is a constitution.

So, instead of a constitution, we have a number of Basic Laws which cover only a part of the ground, and a mass of Supreme Court precedents. This court slowly arrogated to itself the right to abolish Laws enacted by the Knesset which contradict the nonexistent constitution.

STARTING FROM the last Knesset, extreme right-wing Likud Members have been competing with each other in their efforts to castrate the Supreme Court one way or another. Some would stuff the court with right-wing judges, others would radically limit its jurisdiction.

Things came to a head when a group of far-right Likud members launched a veritable avalanche of bills which were clearly unconstitutional. One of them, and the most dangerous one, was a law that forbade people to call for a boycott of the State of Israel and, in a sinister way, added the words “and of territories held by it”.

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19/04/2015

UN Urges States to Act on New Standards to Eliminate Devastating Violence against Children

Human Wrongs Watch

United Nations officials gathered at the UN Crime Congress under way in Doha, Qatar, on 18 April 2015 called on Member States to take action and implement the new international standards on the elimination of violence against children adopted late last year, stressing that such violence continues to have a devastating effect on children, families, and society as a whole.*

Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza are suffering from psychosocial distress as a result of the 50-day armed conflict in 2014. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza are suffering from psychosocial distress as a result of the 50-day armed conflict in 2014. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

The new set of international standards and norms – entitled the “United Nations Model strategies and practical measures on the elimination of violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice,” and approved by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2014 – aim to not only improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in preventing and responding to violence against children but also to protect children against any violence that may result from their contact with that system.

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