A Transcript of the interview with Christopher Black, International Criminal Lawyer, taken at the 12th Rhodes Forum
My name is Christopher Black, I am a criminal lawyer based in Toronto, Canada. But for the last 15 years I’ve been involved in international war crimes tribunal work at the Yugoslav tribunal in the Hague, but most of my time Rwanda tribunal in Tanzania. There I was defending the chief of staff at the National Police, Gendarmerie General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was acquitted just this February of all the charges after 15 years of imprisonment.
My position here at this Forum is to put across the point of view that these tribunals are not institutions of criminal justice as portrayed in the mass media or by the tribunals themselves, but in fact are politically motivated courts whose purpose is one thing – propaganda.
The trials, the people targeted for the charges are carefully selected to represent certain segments of the regimes which has been overthrown in Yugoslavia and Rwanda presence. They target certain leaders, political leaders, military personnel, intellectuals and so on. In my experience from all the trials I’ve been involved with and acknowledge of all the charges that are politically based and motivated. The purpose of the propaganda aspect of it is that they are used first of all to demonize the old regime so it can not come back to power, to put out a false picture of what actually happened in those wars and to cover up the real role of the West in those wars. That is the purpose of these tribunals and that is the only purpose they serve in my view.
There are tools, effect weapons of war, as far as I am concerned, used to help overthrow these regimes and justify the maintenance of the new regime. So the international law is being used as a tool or device to justify and maintain regime change, if you want to use that phrase. The International Criminal Court, which we have high hopes for is turning out to be exactly the same thing as the ad hoc tribunals, because of the charges so far have been against Congolese and people from Central and West Africa and they target only certain African leaders. Some people accuse the ICC (International Criminal Court) of being racist, because they are only targeting blacks. I don’t accept that. It is true that they only target black Africans, but they only target certain black Africans. They don’t target president Paul Kagame or Museveni who have committed mass murders in Congo, maybe 6 to 10 million people have been killed by their forces in the last 15 years. And they are not charged. So African leaders who oppose Western interests are targeted and those who support or puppets of Western interests are left alone to do what they want. That is my position.
I came here to speak. My unique contribution was to trying get people to understand what actually goes on in these trials. Most people don’t pay attention to the trials themselves. I wanted to tell people what I saw go on in these trials and how the prosecution, how the Western intelligence services arrange these trials and fix these trials up and trying to basically frame these people. That is what my purpose was.
Do I support humanitarian intervention, so-called? My perspective on that is that on almost every case where humanitarian intervention has been called for is being based on propaganda which has turned out to be false. The propaganda is used to justify aggressive war against countries disguised as humanitarian intervention. The idea that humankind should go and protect everybody everywhere is fine if it was applied equally across the board. This is not and it can’t be. There is no way for instance if in Canada the Canadian regime suppressed the native population, which they are doing, that they would tolerate Russia or China coming in and calling an invading Canada to change the regime. It would not be tolerated. It would be called aggression which it would be. So the Western imperial powers like United States, Britain, Canada and so on have the goal to say that they have the right to go in and act like policeman around the world and invade countries and overthrow the regimes supposedly to protect the population based on propaganda. It is nothing more than a prescription for world chaos or world war.
If you had an actual situation, where population was being massacred by its own government, then the only people, the only organization, which could call for some action is the UN Security Council. If the UN Security Council under chapter 7 authorized an action, a call for that government to stop, that would be the first step. If you do not stop, they are going to do something for you. I would agree with that because this is what all the nations of the world have agreed to who are the members of the UN Charter, which is everyone. That’s not what is happening. If the Russians or Chinese veto or the Americans veto actions against Israel or something, or against themselves, the Americans claim: then we act on our own. That is not what the UN Charter says you can do. If you can’t convince the members of the Security Council you have case, you have no case, you can’t act. Otherwise there is no international law whatsoever. You have vigilante, basically vigilante bodies roaming around the world, doing vigilante actions. That is not the way you can have international law and peace, and order in this world. It is just a prescription for war.
To sum up what my position is that you cannot have peace and order in this world unless every country obeys the law and that right now is the UN Charter. Unilateral action by any country or group of countries is nothing more than a prescription for the world chaos and perhaps a world war. It doesn’t help the situation and never has in any of these instances and it is got to be stopped. Humanitarian intervention is a false proposition and it is not valid, it does not work. In general terms it is just used to justify aggression for other reasons.
Click here to watch the video of the interview