Under the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, “All individuals who do not belong to the armed forces, take no part in the hostilities and find themselves in the hands of the Enemy or an Occupying Power” shall in all circumstances be treated humanely by the occupying army. As such, they must not be subjected to “outrages upon their personal dignity, particularly humiliating and degrading treatment.”
Unfortunately for millions of Haitians, who find themselves living under an army of occupation (MINUSTAH) through an abuse of authority of the UN Security Council in the form of a resolution (1529) labeling Haiti “a threat to international peace and security”, the forbidden crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention (rapes, tortures, beatings and untimely deaths) have been a fact of life since February 29th, 2004. To make matters worse, they are being subjected to these humiliating and degrading treatments by the very organization entrusted to upholding the tenets of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Human relations and social development being naturally asymmetrical effectively negate the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples prominently enumerated in the preambles of the United Nations Charter. It is all the more absurd that a small country, like Haiti, would want to be a member of the United Nations, an organization whose fundamental principles are rather utopian, if not deceptive. As the history of human social development and interactions is littered with trials and errors, I want to believe that the United Nations is one of those instances rather than a concerted effort by a few powerful nations to deceive and subjugate the rest of its member-states. Is the United Nations, as presently organized, indispensable for the survival of humanity or an impediment to human development, given the interdependency of our world and its less than stellar record at promoting peace?
The atrocities committed by the Nazis throughout Europe (1939-45), the Italians in Abyssinia (1938) and the Japanese in Asia (1936-45) undoubtedly made the case for the creation of the UN in 1945 as an alternative to the ineffectual League of Nations (1919-46) which failed to suppress the genocidal designs of Germany, Italy and Japan. Aptly, the United Nations’ founding is an emotional reaction to a repulsive episode in human history rather than a genuine attempt at promoting peace among its members. From its inception, it has been the domain of a few powerful countries intent on imposing their cultural, political and economic values on the rest of the world, therefore a nightmare for humanity as its purposes and goals conflicted with the history of human interactions and social development.
Because of the Nuremberg (1945-46) and the Tokyo (1946-48) War Crimes Trials in which high ranking Germans and Japanese political and military officers were convicted under non-existing statutes for crimes against humanity, the victorious allies then decided to make such crimes punishable under international laws. Hence, the rationale behind the Geneva Conventions that outlaw the inhumane treatment of civilians under military occupation (a time-honored hobby of invaders) and condone today’s generic use of “crimes against humanity” as an instrument for political oppression by the Security Council, the UN body in charge of enforcing the statutes. Even an invading soldier, who came to terrorize a peaceful population, is protected under these Conventions, which range from the necessary to the unenforceable to the downright absurd. The fact that no Italians were ever prosecuted for the genocidal assault upon the people of Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia) was evidence of the duplicitous nature of the UN and its lofty purposes.
In 1993, the plenipotentiary powers of the UN Security Council were evident when it adopted a report from then-Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and a Commission of Experts which recommended that the Geneva Conventions be part of the body of Customary International Humanitarian Laws, therefore binding on non-signatories to these Conventions whenever they engage in armed conflicts. (Customary International Humanitarian Laws are sets of rules that are generally accepted as laws, irrespective of precedents or biding treaties.) Fittingly, a civilian, who killed a soldier of an occupation army in self-defense, could be criminally charged under the Geneva Convention, which legally protects his tormentor from retaliatory actions by civilians under military occupation.
Seeing that laws are enacted and treaties signed in response to unfortunate incidents, MINUSTAH’s reign of terror in Haiti ought to serve as rationale for the revision of any accord that grants blanket immunity to UN peacekeepers. Signing treaties under duress is incompatible with the principles of sovereignty and self-determination of peoples. Nonetheless, any elected official, who acquiesces to this abomination, is legally and morally responsible for the deaths, beatings, sexual assaults and daily humiliations of Haitians at the hands of the MINUSTAH soldiers. As a remedy, the victims and their families should seek compensations by suing Gérard Latortue, René Préval and Michel Martelly for their annual endorsement of this absurdity.
It is simply unacceptable that Haitians, who find themselves under an unprovoked military occupation, would continue to be humiliated and degraded with the implicit support of the political class. Educated in the schools of legalism, internationalism and other isms that do not pertain to nationalism, Haiti’s political class refuses to see the reality as it is. Their blind embrace of the international conventions, which oppress and rob the Haitian people of their dignity, must not be tolerated.
Latest posts by Haitian Times (see all)
- Lionel Messi magic sinks Napoli and puts labouring Barcelona through - Aug. 09, 2020
- Andrea Pirlo is the new coach of the First Team - Aug. 09, 2020
- Champions League 2020: Winners and Losers After Saturday’s Round-of-16 Results - Aug. 09, 2020