An Interview with Christopher Black

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.


Wir verlieren Russland

Von Martin Hoffmann, Der Tagesspiegel, 18 November, 2014

Plädoyer für einen Neuanfang der Beziehungen

Dies ist ein Weckruf. Ein Weckruf an all jene in der Politik, die schlafwandelnd auf die Überlegenheit des Westens vertrauen. An diejenigen, die davon überzeugt sind, der Westen müsse endlich Stärke zeigen und seine Sanktionen verstärken. Auch an jene Ostpolitiker mit Augenmaß, die auf den Dialog setzen, aber überzeugt sind, ein Krieg sei ausgeschlossen und am Ende werde die Vernunft siegen.


ISIS, Militarism and the Violent Imagination

An Article by Richard Falk published at the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, September 26, 2014

Before ISIS

The beheading of American and British journalists who were being held hostage by ISIS creates a truly horrifying spectacle, and quite understandably mobilizes the political will to destroy the political actor who so shocks and frightens the Western sensibility, which is far from being free from responsibility for such lurid incidents.

Never in modern times has there been a clearer example of violence begetting violence.

And we need to ask ‘to what end?’ Political leaders in the West are remarkably silent and dishonest about what it is that they wish to achieve in this region beset since 2011 by a quite terrifying outbreak of political extremism, whether from above as in the cases of Syria, Egypt, and Israel or from below as with ISIS and al-Nusra.


A Solution for an Unsolvable Problem? Recognition of the State of Palestine – by Israel, now!

By Walter Schwimmer, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”

The new Swedish government officially recognized on October 30, 2014 the State of Palestine (1). British Parliament voted two weeks earlier on a resolution in favour of backing the recognition of the Palestinian State (2). And even the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini spoke during her first official visit to Israel and Palestine in November 2014 in favour of the recognition of the Palestinian State (3).

Already on November 29, 2012 United Nations General Assembly, voting by an overwhelming majority, accorded Palestine “Non-Member-State” observer status in the UN. Did these important acts change anything on the ground? Certainly not. The only recognition which would count would be the one expressed by the State of Israel – in its own interest. Officially the government of Israel is in favour of the so-called two-states-resolution. So, what has been going wrong, why the world is waiting since the Oslo and Washington Peace Accord for the decisive step?


Hans Koechler at the 12th Rhodes Forum

A Transcript of the Interview with Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization and a Member of the WPF International Coordinating Committee, taken at the 12th Rhodes Forum in September, 2014

We have been discussing in a plenary session the problems that result from the use of force against sovereign states. We have explained that in international constellation where there is no balance of power, where there is only one dominant global player, there is always this temptation of the most powerful country to intervene in other countries in order to change the governments according to the dominant power’s interests.

Of course, if one uses force, if one invades another country, and this has happened repeatedly since the end of the Cold war, one feels to be under the obligation to give a justification for this. The justification in ideological terms traditionally was humanitarian intervention. One would say: “In that particular country the human rights are not respected, the government is not democratic, so we have to come in to protect the people from the brutalities of the government”, while an actual fact is strategic interests, economic interests that are the reason behind an intervention.


Europe as a Model for De-escalation on the Korean Peninsula

An Article by Walter Schwimmer, Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, published at Modern Diplomacy

Speaking as former Secretary General of the Council of Europe on de-escalation on the Korean Peninsula, on peace and security in Eastern Asia is a real challenge. For millenniums Europe itself was far away from forming unity and providing peace. On the contrary, the smallest of all continents has been the scene of many wars, some of them called the “100 years war” or the “30 years war”.

The latter involved most of the European countries and was one of the most destructive armed conflicts in history.

Between 1618 and 1648 more than half of the European population died because of direct or indirect consequences of the fighting. In the 20th century this history of bloody conflicts culminated once again in conflicts which became global, 100 years ago Europeans started World War I and 75 years ago World War II. Many historians dealt this year of centenary of WWI with its causes.

I dare to say that there are always the same threats to peace and security: lack of communication, stereotypes and prejudices and ignorance.


And the Loser in Brazil is – Neoliberalism

By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online, October 28, 2014

Politically, in a nutshell, Rousseff’s narrow victory is crucial for the future of a progressive, integrated South America. It will reinvigorate Mercosur - the common market of the South - as well as Unasur - the union of South American nations. This goes way beyond free trade; it’s about close regional integration, in parallel to close Eurasia integration.


Noam Chomsky, UN Speech, October 21, 2014

In U.N. Speech, Noam Chomsky Blasts United States for Supporting Israel, Blocking Palestinian State. The event in the hall of the U.N. General Assembly was hosted by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

It’s a pleasure to be here to be able to talk with you and discuss with you afterwards.

Many of the world’s problems are so intractable that it’s hard to think of ways even to take steps towards mitigating them. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not one of these. On the contrary, the general outlines of a diplomatic solution have been clear for at least 40 years. Not the end of the road—nothing ever is—but a significant step forward. And the obstacles to a resolution are also quite clear.


Presidential Elections in Brazil: What Kind of Domestic and International Scenarios are Opening on the Eve of the Next 26th October’s Second Round?

By Simona Bottoni, Associate Researcher, Institute of Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome (Italy)

Results confirm that the last year’s presidential elections on October 5th were the most controversial in the current democratic Brazil: the PT candidate Dilma Rousseff, with her 41,5% of votes, has failed to avoid a second ballot, while the moderate Aécio Neves (PSDB) gained the 33,6%, far behind in the pre-election polls even compared to the other candidate Marina Silva (PSB), which succeeded the arena in full campaign due to the untimely death of Edward Campos, stopped at the 21,3% of votes.