Monday, July 17, 2006

We have moved !

We have Moved!

We are now located at the new and improved Globalawandpolitics site: http://www.globalawandpolitics.org/

We will see you there.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eleven years after Srebrenica – Karadžić and Mladić still at large

On July 11, 2006, the international community commemorated the eleventh anniversary of the massacre of as many as 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the small town of Srebrenica. The massacre— which the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) characterized as an act of genocide in Prosecutor v. Krstic—was carried out by a combination of irregular Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces led by ICTY indictee Ratko Mladic. The Srebrenica massacre marked the worst single massacre on the European continent since World War II.

Justice for the victims of the Srebrenica massacre is long overdue. Of the hundreds involved in carrying out the killings, the ICTY has sentenced only six people to date. The alleged masterminds of the massacre—Mladic, and Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadžić are still at large. There are may rumours around why international community still has not managed to arrest the two war criminals, Karadžić and Mladić. One of them is that Karadžić signed at the time of Dayton agreement another clandestine agreement with US government that he will not be arrested if he gives up his functions as a leader of Bosnian Serbs. Events in last decade confirm that speculations since the UN and EU forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not showed any great effort in capturing Karadžić. Only twice a year SFOR forces stage a show for foreign TV crews at Pale, headquarters of Serbian part of BiH.

The denial of the Srebrenica massacre has continued in Serbia. Under the pressure of visual records displaying the perpetrators from Serbia and the victims from Srebrenica, the public in Serbia went silent and demonstrated its capacity for compassion and solidarity for victims of the other side.

At the same time, the truth about the events in Srebrenica has become impossible to deny, even in the RS. Acting under pressure from the Office of the High Representative, in December 2003 the RS National Assembly established the "Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between the 10th and 19th of July, 1995." The Commission's final report prompted unprecedented official apologies from RS authorities. More recently, horrifying video evidence related to the massacre was introduced at the Milosevic trial in The Hague, and later televised in Serbia. Nevertheless, the truth has yet to be broadly accepted by a significant part of the Serbian public.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Svoboda slovenskih medijev: za koga?

Pred kratkim smo naleteli na poročilo Mirovnega inštituta iz Ljubljane o delovanju RTV od začetka veljavnosti novega zakona novembra 2005 do maja 2006.

Strokovnjaki Mirovnega inštituta za svobodo tiska in medijev na splošno so v mesecu maju predstavili poročilo monitorinega delovanja RTV Slovenija. O svobodi medijev in tiska smo člani našega bloga pisali že obširno na tem in v drugih medijih, vendar se nam zdi potrebno osvetliti določene poudarke iz poročila Mirovnega inštituta. O samem poročilu ne bomo izgubljali preveč besed, saj veliko že pove dejstvo, da se ljudem iz Mirovnega inštituta ni zdelo pomembno pripraviti takega poročila že v prejšnjih letih pred sprejetjem zakona o RTVS. Njihovo poročilo se bere v skladu z delovanjem slovenskega varuha človekovih pravic. Ta se je prvič obregnil in omenil omejevanje svobode tiska v Sloveniji šele junija lansko leto po zamenjavi vlade, medtem ko v njegovih prejšnjih poročilih zaman iščemo omembo težkega stanja na področju svobode izražanja in svobode tiska. O strokovnosti poročila Mirovnega inštituta zaradi več razlogov ni mogoče govoriti. Je to presenetljivo? Mogoče. Že v sami predstaviti Mirovnega inštituta na njihovi spletni strani je mogoče prebrati, da se je stroga akademska perspektiva se je povezala s konkretno socialno in politično angažiranostjo. Kulturni boj se za nekatere še nadaljuje, človekove pravice obstajajo ob strani, razen takrat, ko pač ustrezajo cilju, ki ga je potrebno doseči.

V spodnjih vrsticah objavljamo nekatere poudarke iz poročila:

»Slovenski politični vrh združen v koalicijo Demos je takrat prvič pokazal, da se še kako zaveda pomena televizije in nadzora nad njo. Čeprav bi od Demosa, ki je poudarjal pomen demokracije in demokratičnosti, lahko pričakovali depolitizacijo osrednjega nacionalnega medija, se je zgodilo ravno nasprotno. Z zakonom je popolnoma podredil RTVS in osrednji organ odločanja svet RTVS svojim političnim interesom, druge (in tudi najpomembnejše) razsežnosti nacionalnega RTVS servisa: kulturno,izobraževalno in razvedrilno pa je kratko malo ignoriral. Po poročilih medijev iz tega obdobja naj bi vpliv«

V sklepnem delu poročila pa je mogoče prebrati: »Dosedanje kadrovske spremembe so na vodilne položaje na radiu in televiziji pripeljale kadre, ki ne glede na profesionalno kompetentnost ne morejo zanikati pridobljenega političnega blagoslova vladne koalicije k izvolitvi. V programskem in nadzornem svetu tudi namestniških funkcij niso pridobili kadri, ki bi bili kritično naravnani do vladne koalicije oziroma njenega videnja RTV Slovenija, kot je predstavljen v razpravi o novem zakonu.«

Temelj demokratičnega pravnega sistema je javna in odprta razprava o zadevah splošnega pomena, ne pa zamegljevanje ddejstev s politično preprogo. Takšen sistem omogoča spopad mnenj in tehtanje argumentov o vprašanjih, ki zadevajo vsakogar. Slovensko Ustavno sodišče je v odločbi U-I-226-95 zapisalo, da »soočenje nasprotujočih in različno motiviranih pogledov prispeva k bolj učinkovitemu in zanesljivemu procesu odločanja«. Udeležba v postopku omogoča ljudem, da prispevajo k odločitvam, ki jih zadevajo, hkrati pa odprtost in preglednost delovanja, zmanjšuje možnost zlorab. Če naj bo razprava res svobodna, je pravica posameznika, da izraža svoje mnenje, in je v načelu varovana, ne glede na to, ali je izjava groba ali nevtralna, racionalna ali čustvena, blaga ali napadalna, koristna ali škodljiva, pravilna ali napačna.

Poročilo Mirovnega inštituta vsekakor priporočamo v branje. Že zaradi njegove politične interpretacije svobode medijev in svobodnega delovanja nacionalne radiotelevizije. Obenem pa priporočamo v branje tudi spodnje strokovne publikacije za osvetlitev pravnih (in političnih) problemov na področju svobode izražanja in tiska v Sloveniji in drugod:

Revija Dignitas, št 25 http://www.nova-revija.si/knjiga.php?ida=010502505

Revija Dignitas, št. 13-14, http://www.nova-revija.si/knjiga.php?ida=010501302

Revija Dignitas, št. 11-12, http://www.nova-revija.si/knjiga.php?ida=010501102

Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir, Journalism Worthy of the Name, Freedom Within the Press and the Affirmative Side of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, , http://www.brill.nl/product.asp?ID=21273

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Segerstedt-Wiberg and Others v. Sweden

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), June 6, 2006.

ECtHR recenly delivered decision in case of Segerstedt-Wiberg and Others v. Sweden regarding alleged violation of various Convention rights. The applicants are Swedish nationals who made unsuccessful requests to view records held on them by the Swedish Security Police. Their requests were refused on the ground that making them available might threaten national security or hinder police activities. The police and courts relied on Chapter 5, section 1(2), of the 1980 Secrecy Act. The applicants, relied on the following provision of European Convention on Human Rights: Article 8 of(right to respect for private life), Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

With regard to alleged violation of Article 8 and the storage of applicants’ information, the Court held that the storage of the information had a legal basis under the 1998 Police Data Act. In addition, the scope of the discretion conferred on the competent authorities and the manner of its exercise was indicated with sufficient clarity. The Court also accepted that the storage of the information in question pursued legitimate aims, namely the prevention of disorder or crime, in the case of Segerstedt-Wiberg, and the protection of national security, for the other applicants. The Court concluded that the continued storage of the information that had been released was necessary concerning Segerstedt-Wiberg, but not for any of the remaining applicants. In terms of the refusal to grant full access to the information, the Court held that Sweden was entitled to consider national security interests and the fight against terrorism over the interests of the applicants.

With regard to alleged violation of Articles 10 and 11, the Court considered that the storage of personal data related to political opinion, affiliations and activities that had been deemed unjustified for the purposes of Article 8 constituted an unjustified interference with the rights protected by Articles 10 and 11 concerning all the applicants, except Segerstedt-Wiberg.

Regarding violation of Article 13 and the applicants’ access to an effective remedy, the Court observed that the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman and Chancellor of Justice could receive individual complaints and had a duty to investigate them to ensure that the relevant laws had been properly applied. However, they lacked the power to render a legally-binding decision. Therefore, the court found neither remedy, considered on its own, to be effective within the meaning of Article 13 for all of the applicants. Under Article 41 of the Convention (just satisfaction) the Court awarded 3,000 EUR to Segerstedt-Wiberg, 7,000 EUR to Nygren and Schmid, and 5,000 EUR to Ehnebom and Frejd for non-pecuniary damage. The Court also awarded 20,000 EUR, jointly, for costs and expenses.

Decision is available here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Quote and question of the Week

The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war.”

— North Korea's state-run media in reaction to increased military pressure on North Korea, using the nation's official name Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and its leader Kim Jong Il stating that it would respond with an "annihilating strike and a nuclear war" to any U.S. preemptive attack on its missile program.

Here comes the question of this week. Can US missile defense handle threat from North Korea? Experts may say that shooting down a missile is no walk in the park. Recent US military tests in February 2005 confirm the above. Right?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

US Supreme Court Holds Military Commissions Invalid - Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

The US Supreme Court on 29 June issued its decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and held that the Bush administration did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals and found the special military commissions illegal under both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. The decision is available here. Justice Stevens wrote the 5-3 opinion and was joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and in part Justice Kennedy. Justices Kennedy and Breyer wrote separate opinions. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Scalia dissented and wrote separate dissenting opinions. Chief Justice Roberts took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Here is a excerpt of the case holding that the Geneva Conventions apply to the conflict with Al Qaeda.

VI. ii.

The conflict with al Qaeda is not, according to the Government, a conflict to which the full protections afforded detainees under the 1949 Geneva Conventions apply because Article 2 of those Conventions (which appears in all four Conventions) renders the full protections applicable only to “all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties.” 6 U. S. T., at 3318. Since Hamdan was captured and detained incident to the conflict with al Qaeda and not the conflict with the Taliban, and since al Qaeda, unlike Afghanistan, is not a “High Contracting Party”-i.e., a signatory of the Conventions, the protections of those Conventions are not, it is argued, applicable to Hamdan.

We need not decide the merits of this argument because there is at least one provision of the Geneva Conventions that applies here even if the relevant conflict is not one between signatories. Article 3, often referred to as Common Article 3 because, like Article 2, it appears in all four Geneva Conventions, provides that in a “conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum,” certain provisions protecting “[p]ersons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by … detention.” Id., at 3318. One such provision prohibits “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” ....

iii.

Common Article 3, then, is applicable here and, as indicated above, requires that Hamdan be tried by a “regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”... At a minimum, a military commission “can be ‘regularly constituted’ by the standards of our military justice system only if some practical need explains deviations from court-martial practice.”...

iv.

Inextricably intertwined with the question of regular constitution is the evaluation of the procedures governing the tribunal and whether they afford “all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” 6 U. S. T., at 3320 (Art. 3, ¶ 1(d)). Like the phrase “regularly constituted court,” this phrase is not defined in the text of the Geneva Conventions. But it must be understood to incorporate at least the barest of those trial protections that have been recognized by customary international law. Many of these are described in Article 75 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, adopted in 1977 (Protocol I). Although the United States declined to ratify Protocol I, its objections were not to Article 75 thereof. Indeed, it appears that the Government “regard[s] the provisions of Article 75 as an articulation of safeguards to which all persons in the hands of an enemy are entitled.”...

We agree with Justice Kennedy that the procedures adopted to try Hamdan deviate from those governing courts-martial in ways not justified by any “evident practical need,” post, at 11, and for that reason, at least, fail to afford the requisite guarantees. See post, at 8, 11-17. We add only that, as noted in Part VI-A, supra, various provisions of Commission Order No. 1 dispense with the principles, articulated in Article 75 and indisputably part of the customary international law, that an accused must, absent disruptive conduct or consent, be present for his trial and must be privy to the evidence against him. See § § 6(B)(3), (D). That the Government has a compelling interest in denying Hamdan access to certain sensitive information is not doubted. Cf. post, at 47-48 (Thomas, J., dissenting). But, at least absent express statutory provision to the contrary, information used to convict a person of a crime must be disclosed to him.

v.

Common Article 3 obviously tolerates a great degree of flexibility in trying individuals captured during armed conflict; its requirements are general ones, crafted to accommodate a wide variety of legal systems. But requirements they are nonetheless. The commission that the President has convened to try Hamdan does not meet those requirements.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Petnajst let samostojnosti Slovenije

V nedeljo bomo praznovali petnajst let osamosvojitve. 25. junij 1991 ostaja najsvetlejša točka naše zgodovine, ki nas še vedno osrečuje in nas obenem navdaja s ponosom. Vsem nam se pa zastavlja pa se vprašanje ali je bilo teh petnajst let zgodba o uspehu? Ni dvoma da se v Sloveniji živi dosti bolje, kot se je živelo ob osamosvojitvi in da imamo veliko zgodbic o uspehu, s katermi se lahko hvalimo pred svetom. Tako lahko rečemo, da je bilo prvih petnajstih let zelo uspešnih, čeprav jih ne gre opisati kot odlične. Zato kaj takega bi se morali znebiti vseh čejev, ki spremljajo javno življenje slovenske družbe vse od osamosvojitve naprej. Prav ta težnja k odličnosti pa nam v slovenski družbi zelo manjka. Matej v svojem postu zelo dobro ugotavlja, da smo Slovenci trenutno na najvišji točki v vsej naši zgodovini, vendar ni razloga, da ne bi težili še k večji zrelosti naše družbe in njene konkurenčnosti navzven. Ko nas tujci povprašajo kako se živi v Sloveniji, se Slovenci radi pohvalimo, da je pri nas kvaliteta življenja zelo visoka. Da se da v enem dnevu smučati na Krvavcu in namakati v Jadranskem morju ter enako mogoče v istem dnevu osvojiti naše vršace v Julijcih in se potem namakati v termalnih vodah naših zdravilišč na drugem koncu Slovenije. Slednje verjetno drži, vendar se človek vpraša ali je to ista država in družba, kjer je bilo po podatkih iz zdravstvenega statističnega letopisa leta 2003 opravljeno 6873 splavov, pri čemer se je istega leta rodilo samo 17.066 otrok. Da ne začnemo razprave o samomorih, ki jih je bilo 562. Iz teh golih podatkov tako izhaja, da bi bila kvaliteta življenja pri nas ne more biti kdo ve kako visoka. Večina prebivalstva podobno kot v prejšnjih desetletjih in stoletjih trdo dela za svoj vsakodnevni kruh. Stanovanjsko vprašanje v mestih posebej še za mlade družine ostaja skoraj nerešljiv problem. Tretjina prebivalstva je v pokoju, kar povečuje pritisk na mlade generacije, ki so res nekakšno žrtveno jagnje za razvoj Slovenije, saj morajo loviti stik z Evropo, ki so ga stare generacije izgubile, ko so se klečeplazile pred totalitarnimi komunisti. Če k temu dodamo še povsod navzoče obtožbe o korupciji in nepotizmu raznih političnih, gospodarskih in družinskih kartelov, postane vsakomur jasno, da nas v tej prelepi deželici čaka še ogromno dela in točenja čistega vina, da prekinemo vezi in navade iz preteklosti, in zadihamo neobremenjeni in motivirani v prihodnost. Pravičnosti ne smemo nikomur odreči!

Nazadnje še, prijatlji,
kozarce zase vzdignimo,
ki smo zato se zbratli,
ker dobro v srcu mislimo;
dókaj dni
naj živí
vsak, kar nas dobrih je ljudi!; France Prešeren, Zdravljica, 8. kitica

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Slovenia's 15th Anniversary of Independence

This weekend Slovenian cities, above all the capital Ljubljana, will be wrapped into joyfull colors. Slovenia is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its independence won from Yugoslavia on the 25th of June 1991.

In many ways Slovenia in which we presently live is an utterly enjoyable place, with a great quality of life, green and unspoiled environment... For a visitor Slovenia is a marble bellow the Alps.

However, there is another darker side to it. As a legacy of the totalitarian regime and as a legacy of ever lacking genuine liberalism, Slovenia is a close-minded place, with monopolies ranging from all sides particularly hindering the development and welfare of its young generations.

It is the latter problem that Slovenia and its stakeholders will need to face and tackle seriously in order to make our Homeland a real flurishing place in all terms: social, intellectual and personal...

Long live Slovenia!