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Human the right to speak (freedom of speech)

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Human rights are the fundamental rights for all human beings irrespective
of sex, ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, color, and other status. In the
democratic countries, citizens have right to vote and citizens elect their own leaders
of the country, where leaders become the civil servant. People of these
countries hold the majority of the power. They have the right to speak (freedom
of speech) and they are also protected by the law which is under the
constitution. In the democratic countries, they believe in human rights and human
rights are being practiced. But inside the democracy, a leader of the country
can also misuse his or her power over their citizens. Abuse of power in the
form of misconduct is the commission of an unlawful act. Abuse of power only
serves the personal interest of the individual. In this manner when the government
violates the human rights, people become venerable because they cannot protect themselves
against the power structure. In this paper, I will try to establish that
careful use of force in the advancement of human rights is a necessary step
though other measures are also necessary to promote human rights. In my essay, I
will briefly describe what human rights are, international measures in place to
protect human rights, examples of human rights violations in few countries, and
how the United Nations including United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and
International Criminal Court (ICC) reacted and played role in those situations
to protect the citizens of those countries. Through these country examples, I
will try to justify the rationale behind the use of force, when necessary and how
the use of force protected the civilians from the atrocities of the government
forces. I will also mention how the world communities brought the perpetrators to
justice to punish them and to give warning signals to others to prevent them
from human rights violation.  

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, irrespective
of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color,
religion, language, or any other status. All human beings are entitled to the
human rights without discrimination. These are the basic rights and freedoms
that belong to everybody in the world for their whole life until death. This
applies regardless of where they are from, what they believe or how they choose
to live their lives. Government and other duty bearers have the obligations and
responsibility to ensure progressive realization of human rights for their
citizen subject to availability of resources.  Considering the resource constraints faced by
many countries, the United Nations recognizes that the fulfillment of human
rights related to economic and social aspects can only be achieved over time,
and calls for the progressive realization. Again, progressive realization of
human rights does not mean that governments do not have obligations in terms of
these rights until a certain level of economic development is reached but
rather than that there will be continual progress on the status of these rights
and therefore states should take necessary steps immediately and in the future
towards the full realization of human rights for their citizen.  

Human rights created a platform where all the people are
protected from several legal, political and social abuse. Examples of human
rights are the right of the fair trial and the right to the presumption of
innocence, right to vote and engage in political activity and freedom of
religion, etc. These rights exist in law which are applied in international and
national levels. Human rights are universal rights and every person should have
these rights including men, women, transgender people, children and other gender
roles. Every person should have freedom of choice and every person have the
rights of life, liberty and properties because these are essential and
considered as some basic rights for every human being. “The concept of
universal values which refers to norm and principles of life that reflect the
interests of human community” (Chumakov, A. N. 2014, Pp. 276-476) are important
elements of human rights. After World War II, in 1946 the Nuremberg Trials and
Tokyo Trial were held to prosecute Nazi Party and Imperial Japanese military for
their crime against humanity and genocide based on religious identity, ethnicity
and sexual orientation. After the Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo trial, the Western
powers came up with the idea of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in
1948 at the United Nations General Assembly. From there, the international
community started to promote the human rights and how to save humanity from a totalitarian
or an authoritarian government. It first started with some basic and primary
level of human rights. As time goes, it developed more and more human rights
and then put down on the charter. Countries who are under UN members, they
signed this UDHR treaties, making the commitments to promote human rights and not
to violate human rights against its citizens. Also in the same time, United
Nations Security Council was formed to protect the countries from the war and
also improve of human rights watch. The purpose of this Security Council is the
maintenance of international peace and security, establishment of peacekeeping
operations, establishment of international sanction and authorization of
military action through Security Council resolution. (Security council, SC,
UNSC). Human rights are important because it creates a relationship between
government and its people. Because of human rights, the government cannot abuse
its excessive power over their citizen. For example: a government cannot make a
policy that goes against sex, ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, color,
and other status which might discriminate or make it uncomfortable for its
citizen. If the government passes a law that abuses any person or a group of
people or community, the people of the country can go to the supreme court of
that country and challenge that law against the government.

Both International Criminal Court (ICC) and United Nations
(UN) prioritized human rights more than anything else. In the ICC, leader of a
country can be prosecuted for their crime against humanity, genocide, and war
crimes. The ICC has been created in 2002 by the Rome Statute. The ICC is the
first permanent court in history that operates across borders to prosecute
individuals for gross human rights violations. As of 2013, 121 states have
ratified the Rome Statute to become members of the ICC, thereby submitting
themselves to the court’s jurisdiction. The ICC is physically located in The
Hague, Netherlands and it maintains its own prison, the independent prosecutor,
public defenders and panels of the judge who are elected by the member states.

The ICC has jurisdiction over anyone who is a citizen of one of the ICC’s member
states, or anyone who has committed genocide, the crimes against humanity, or
war crimes on the territory of a state. Typically, a criminal investigation is
initiated by the office of the prosecutor. ICC can also prosecute other
individuals referred to it by the UN Security Council. It is important that ICC
is designed to prosecute individual, not states. (Chong, Daniel P. L. 2013, pp 82).

But there are many countries that are not part of ICC like China, Israel, Russia,
Libya, Qatar, Yemen and the United States. Among these countries, three
countries are the member of the UN Security Council. UN Security Council has
the power to enforcement action. In Chapter VII of the United Nations, it allows
the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of
the peace, or act of aggression” and to make recommendations or action to resort
to non-military and military action to “maintain or restore international peace
and security”. (Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council). UN
Security Council has veto power, from five members of the Council. They have
the power to block any draft resolution from other 15 members of the Security
Council. For example, the UN Security Council failed to a draft and pass a
resolution aiming to impose sanctions over the alleged use of chemical weapons
in Syria as Russia and China vetoed it in 2016. In Article 42 of Chapter VII of
the United Nations, it mentions that UN Security Council has the authority to
take action by air, sea and land force as may be necessary to maintain or
resorted international peace and security. (Repertoire of the Practice of the
Security Council). Security Council can impose sanctions on countries, if
necessary to ensure peace and security. For example, UN Security Council gave
heavy sanctions on North Korea after they tested their six-nuclear test on the
international sea. This sanction was given by the Council during the UN General
Assembly in September of 2017. Even Council can impose sanctions on a state if
they find out that a state committed a crime and being committed a crime
against the humanity. In that situation, they have the power to put sanction on
that state. But sanction is not the best way always to deal with the situation because
only the citizen of that country actually get effected by this sanction, not
the government itself in many situations. UN has the power to prosecute the
leaders of that country and bring them to justice and prosecute them under ICC.

After World War II, United Nations was formed in 1947. In
1948 UN drafted the UN Convention of Genocide, where Raphael Lemkin coined the
word genocide and initiated the Genocide Convention. The word genos he took from
Greek word which means family, tribe or race. The word cide, he took from Latin
word which means killing. During the post-war period, historians found mass
killing based on ethnicity, tribe, race, and religion. In the 20th century, the
first genocide happened in Namibia (1904-1907) against the Herero, Nama and San
people and this crime against humanity was done by the German Empire. Armenia
genocide (1915-1917), which is also known as Armenian Holocaust done by Ottoman
Empire during the World War I and their target was to exterminate the Armenian.

The Holocaust (1941-1945) where Jews, gypsy, homosexual, disabled, POWs,
prostitutes had been targeted by the Nazi Germany and six million Jews lost
their lives in the Nazi concentration camps. Historian and scholars, they
studied these genocides throughout this time-period and looked at this crime
against humanity and came with the solution on how to stop these atrocities in the
future. After the postwar period, by the help of UN and its Security Council,
they formed a UN body to monitor human rights violation by any government for
UN Security Council to take action against that government. In 1977, after the Vietnam
war, Cambodia genocide occurs. This time UN and the United States failed to stop
these atrocities and crime against humanity. But in 2003, UN opened a case for crime
against humanity and genocide and created a tribunal in Cambodia for mass murder
and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. More than 1,700
confidential documents, including victims’, ‘confessions’ and witness statements
were made public. It was based on the hybrid court based on UN and Cambodia government
with the aim of trying those accused of the worst crimes during the Khmer Rouge
regime. It has been estimated that more than two million people died during the
Khmer Rouge rule between 1975 to 1979. Some scholar considered this as an
autogenocide. In this tribunal, the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary
Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) sentenced Kaing Guek Eav to life in
prison. He was the head of the S-21 security in the capital, Phnom Penh, where
numerous crimes against humanity occurred. During this period, the regime
committed numerous inhumanity activity like – forced labor, tortured and
executed in the late 1970s. (UN-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia, 2012). In
this trial, it proves that if UN wants they have the power to create force and
bring leaders into justice for their crime against humanity. In this type of
situation, it is accepted to use force against any government and its leaders in
the advancement of human rights.

From 1992 to 1995, another crime against humanity occurred.

This include atrocities and ethnic cleansing in Europe in the end of the 20th
century. “In April 1992, the Government of the Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia
–Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia. Over the next several
years, Bosnia Serb forces, with the backing of the Serb-dominated Yugoslav
army, targeted both Bosniak (Bosnia Muslim) and Croatian civilians for
atrocious crimes resulting in the deaths of some 100,000 people (80 percent
Bosniak) by 1995.” (History.com Staff. 2009. Bosnian Genocide). This genocide considers
as the worst genocide since Nazi Holocaust where they killed six million Jews
during the Second World War. In this war mass killing and raped happened.  NATO, UN Peacekeeping, and ICC got involved in
this war. Some historian believed that NATO intervention was illegal in the
Bosnia and Herzegovina conflict because NATO intervention of military force in a
foreign soil was happened without UN Security Council approval. This was the
second time in history that happened, without UN Security Council approval,
NATO launched a military campaign on a foreign land. Human Rights Watch
estimated that more than 500 civilians were killed because of air strike by the
NATO. (Sharp, J. M. 1993, (2), 29). In my point of view, NATO got involved with
this war without UN Security Council approval with the believe that this crisis
might diffuse throughout other European countries and it might affect the NATO alliance
countries. Accordingly, NATO came forward to help prevent further spreading of
conflict and stop the atrocities and crime against humanity. By using force,
they tried to bring back peace into these regimes. But it got worse when Serbs
army used its full military power and declared war on Bosnia in 1992. Bosnia
was weak and had not enough power to protect its own country from a foreign
invasion. After the Serbian invasion in Bosnia they began systematic ethnic
cleansing against the Bosnian Muslim. Since then it changed the lives of the
Bosnia people forever. Serbian government made concentration and rape camp in
Bosnia. In those camps, all kind of crimes against humanity took place – prisoners
were beaten to death, put them under starvation and women were gang-raped and murdered.

In the capital of Bosnia, the Serbian’s snippers were ordered to shoot down
civilians on the streets. Also during this time, NATO airstrike brought chaos
to these regimes and international committees were afraid by NATO airstrike and
it killed many innocence people which is considered as human rights violation. United
Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was created to bring peace in these
regimes, which was under the influence of UN Security Council. In 1995, UN and
NATO joined force attacked and bombed on Serbia, which forced to stop the war. After
that Serbia signed on the Dayton Peace Agreement, which established the rights
of the various groups of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina including Bosniaks,
Croats and Serbs. It says that the agreement lead to marginalization when one
has not identified himself with such group resulting to a limited exercise of
human rights. It also mentions by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination on the allocation of specific rights to member of ethnic group.

(Pilegaard, L., & Dzumhur, J. 2015, 1(50), 32-34). UN Peacekeepers designed
safe area, when Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic captured the town and
killed over 8000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys. The International
Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice
ruled the massacre in Srebrenica as genocide. (Kulaši?, E. 2015, 35(3), 401-409).

ICTY was established by the UN Security Council in 1993 to prosecute persons
responsible for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia during the Balkan
wars. This Tribunal claims that it has ‘irreversibly changed the landscape of
international humanitarian law’ and listed six specific achieves: ‘Holding
leaders accountable bringing justice to victims giving victims a voice
establishing the facts developing international law and strengthening the rule
of the law’. (Potts, A., & KjAbarr, A. L. 2016, (3), 525). Radovan
Karadzic got lifetime imprisonment for crime against humanity and war crimes
act and also for ordering to murder 100,000 people. (Escritt, T. 2014,
September 29. Prosecutors call Karadzic). International courts also prosecute
high-profile criminals, such as Serbia’s former president Slobodan Milosevic. They
sent a clear message to the dictators of the world that the rule of law will be
upheld and impunity will not be tolerated. Although Milosevic himself died in
prison before his trial in the ICTY. (Chong, Daniel P. L 2014, (7) 99). It was
a difficult one because it was hard to find the victims and witnesses and also
sometimes it was very difficult for the victims and witnesses to talk about
crime against humanity that was happened to them or they faced. Human Rights Watch
also participated to this trial as a witness. Sometimes by using wrongdoing act
can bring peace and in that situation, it is not considered as wrongdoing act.

NATO violated and committed some crimes, even UN failed to stop genocide in
Bosnia during the Serbian invasion of Bosnia. But by using forces from NATO and
UN, they stopped the war and also stopped the atrocities and crime against
humanity. Hence, in my opinion, use of force is extremely important in this
type of situation to stop atrocities but extreme care and precautionary
measures are pre-requisite in using force to save civilian lives. Also, timely
decisions and actions by Security Council are also important to avoid loss of
human lives and bring back peace and stability.

 In this time-period,
there was another ethnic cleansing happened in Rwanda. Neither UN nor NATO came
forward to stop the atrocities and protect the civilian. After the Rwanda
genocide, the UN promised that world don’t have to see another genocide like
Rwanda and the concept ‘Never Again’ came up.     

In this essay, I tried to describe human rights, its concept and
few elements, the role of United Nations, United Nations Security Council and
International Criminal Court in restoring world peace and stability and promoting
human rights.  I have cited some examples
of misuse of power by the government against their people and how they committed
the crimes against humanity. I talked about crimes committed against humanity at
the beginning of the 20th century and after the World War II – postwar crimes
against humanity and genocide in different parts of the world.  I also mentioned about the positive role that the
United Nations, United Nations Security Council and International Criminal
Court played, described how they worked and how they stopped the war,
atrocities, and crime against humanity. Also, described how they can apply
force to any government if the government misuses the power against their
people. I mentioned about Nuremberg Trial and Tokyo Trial and from those trials
how the World came up with the idea of International Criminal Court (ICC) and how
ICC can interfere with human rights violations. I cited examples from Cambodia,
Bosnia and Rwanda genocide, how these genocides occurred in the 20th century
and how the perpetrators of those atrocities were brought into justice. In my opinion,
use of force targeting perpetrators or government forces in many situations is
the only option to protect civilians, bring back peace and stability and
advance human rights through other options including political solution should
also be explored to ensure sustained peace. Extreme care and precautionary
measures are very important in applying forces to avoid suffering and
casualties of the civilian. Monitoring of human rights situation and early warning
and preventive actions including political solution with support of the
international communities including United Nations can prevent conflicts, save
human lives and advance human rights throughout the World.