"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you." – William Blake (1757-1827) from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Upholding the Rule of Law in the War on Terror: the implications of the bin Laden assassination

We are re-posting below a statement by the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa, on the recent slaying of terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden by US military personnel operating within the sovereign territory of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Actions of this nature raise a number of important questions for the rule of international law. There has, as would be expected, a large volume of comment, opinion and analysis since the announcement by US president Barack Obama on the night of Sunday, 1st May. Questions have been raised about the circumstances and motivation behind the attack. There are even disputed questions of fact involved. However it is also important to highlight the underlying assumptions motivating and guiding adventurous acts such as that just witnessed which, among other things has violated the sovereignty of Pakistan. Those who are sponsoring and/or prosecuting the so-called 'global war on terror' are also answerable to the court of world opinion.

The statement reads:
Justice is served through the Courts not through Extra Judicial killings
Verily from God we come and verily to Him is our return.
The United States has once again destroyed and violated all standards of judicial internationally prescribed laws designed to govern, protect and resolve global disputes and conflicts. Since their "War on Terror" mission coined by George Bush, the reputation of the US has been reduced to nothing more than a violator of the human rights that they claim to uphold.

The recent lawless cowboy action of the Navy Seals under the command of President Obama has been hailed by the US as justice despite the fact that it has done nothing to advance global peace. If anything, it has advanced violence and terrorism as a means to achieve aims. It cannot therefore be seen as a means to foster good relations or understanding as the world has been plunged into a state of unrest.

These actions serve to parade the United States as a country unable to maintain human rights and thus cannot claim to be any better than those that they accuse of terrorism. It is therefore rather hypocritical and meaningless to say that the rule of law will bring about peace and then violate the international standards.

The Muslim Judicial Council condemns the failure of the United States to arrest Osama Bin Laden in order to maintain international global standards of law by affording him the opportunity to present his case through humane and legal avenues. The order to kill is fundamentally not supported by any legal standards and contradicts the standards that American claims to want to maintain and uphold through the war on terror.
We further condemn the manner in which the body of Osama Bin Laden was disposed of as this is not in accordance with Islamic laws even though the claim has been made that Muslim traditions were followed at sea. It is foreign to Muslims that a person is killed on land and buried at sea. We advise the US that their actions further entrenches views that they do not respect the rights of other nations’ cultures, religions nor traditions. The body should have been handed over to the family and people of Osama Bin Laden for a proper Islamic burial.
We thus deduce that the US is not equipped with the ability or intention to build global peace as true justice can never be claimed without dignity, integrity, respect and empathy for others.

Maulana Ihsaan Hendricks - PRESIDENT

Sister Nabeweya Malick - Public Affairs/Media

Source: Press statement issued by the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa - reposted from their website.

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