May 19, 2011
Akahata on May 19 carried an article arguing that the killing of Osama bin Laden goes against international law in the struggle against terrorism. The full text is as follows:
A U.S. Navy special attack team on the dawn of May 2 penetrated the hideout of Osama bin Laden, the leader of the international terror organization Al-Qaida, in Abbottabad, a city near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, killed the unarmed man along with four others, including his sons and aides. Bin Laden had admitted his involvement in the simultaneous terror attacks on September 11, 2001, and is suspected of being the mastermind behind terror attacks in many places in the world. To make anti-terror struggles go ahead, it is necessary to examine the U.S. operation.
The murder operation infringing on Pakistan’s sovereign rights involves serious issues in the light of U.N. Security Council resolutions, principles of international law, and internationally accepted standards in anti-terror struggles. What is worse, it has the danger of increasing acts of terrorism.
The Japanese Communist Party in letters under joint signature by then JCP Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo and JCP Chair Shii Kazuo addressed to government leaders throughout the world following the September 11 terror attacks and the subsequent Afghan War (letters dated Sep.17 and Oct.11, 2001, respectively) pointed out that eliminating brutal acts of terrorism is a fundamental requirement to allow humanity to live in peace in the 21st century.
The U.N. General Assembly in September 2006 unanimously adopted a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism as a global strategy, having learned hard lessons from the bogged down Afghan War and the Iraq War.
The points the two JCP letters emphatically made, a call for a resolution based on international law and rationality, instead of military retaliation, are in common with the U.N. papers.
In a visit to Pakistan (September 2006), the country caught in the forefront in the struggle against terrorism, JCP Chair Shii had talks with then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and stressed the following three principles as necessary for eliminating terrorism. These points are a follow-up to the JCP calls further enriched by focal points of the U.N. anti-terror strategy.
- Poverty, regional conflicts, and other underlying causes of terrorism should be eliminated.
- Terrorism should not be linked to any specific religion or culture.
- In eliminating terrorism, the United Nations should be at the center of such efforts, and the methods of elimination should be in compliance with the U.N. Charter, international law, international humanitarian law, and fundamental human rights.
Therefore, the murder operation involves three major fundamental problems, which runs counter to international standards of acceptance.
Firstly, the U.S. operation killing Osama bin Laden diverges from basic anti-terrorist rules established by the international community stating that terror suspects should be brought to justice. It also violates the principle of abiding by internationally recognized rules. Furthermore, it appears that the aim of the operation was to kill Osama bin Laden.
President Obama on May 2 said, “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda.” Press Secretary Jay Carney on May 4 stated, “The team had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender.” These remarks released by the White House highlighted the fact that the U.S. government from the beginning in its anti-terrorist policy has put priority on killing, not capture. In other words, the U.S. government had the intention of retaliating.
The U.N. Security Council Resolution 1368 adopted the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks calls “on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks,” simulating procedures for arresting and prosecuting bin Laden. The U.S. government’s position went against this assumption.
A joint statement issued by U.N. special Rapporteurs on human rights on May 6 stressed that “[…] terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially […].” This is a basic rule which was established by the international community. Various international treaties also incorporate this rule of conduct.
As the JCP pointed out in its two letters mentioned above, criminal punishment in accordance with established laws is based on the wisdom of humanity. To hold a trial is the only possible way to dig out all the facts about Al-Qaida. The killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. forces’ special operation unit makes it impossible to bring him to justice in order to reveal all of the facts behind the terror attacks.
Secondly, the U.S. special forces team conducted their operations without the Pakistani government’s consent, which is an obvious infringement of sovereignty that violates the U.N. Charter and international law.
The government of Pakistan released a statement on May 3 expressing a protest against the encroachment of its sovereignty. The statement reads, “The Government of Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the Government of the United States carried out this operation without the prior information or authorization of the Government of Pakistan.”
Pakistan has been in the forefront of U.S. operations against terrorists hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Even if taking this into consideration, any lawless act would not be justified because “the territorial integrity and political independence of the State are inviolable” as articulated in the “Declaration Friendly Relations and Cooperation” adopted at the U.N. General Assembly in 1970. It was also problematic in that the deviation from recognized rules regarding how to respond to suspected terrorists was in violation of the nation’s sovereignty.
Thirdly, the U.S. murder operation, which goes against the U.N. Charter and U.N. resolutions, does not contribute in the least to fostering international cooperation. It rather runs counter to the trend of push for democratization in the Middle East and could lead to an increase in terrorism by giving terrorist forces an excuse for retaliation.
As CIA Director Leon Panetta said on May 2 that terrorists will “almost certainly” try to avenge the killing of bin Laden, the U.S. government is strengthening its counter terrorism measures.
The Japanese Communist Party, as shown in its two letters, has pointed out that in order to eradicate terrorism, the international community needs to be united to isolate terrorist forces so that they would not have any place to hide. This sustained and comprehensive approach, requiring all countries’ participation to root out terrorism, is the most significant principle that the international society established after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. It is the main idea expressed in the anti-terrorism strategy adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2006.
A statement published by the U.N. Security Council President on May 2, while welcoming bin Laden’s death, stated that terrorism “can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States and relevant international and regional organizations and civil society”. Such cooperation will be possible only when the U.N. Charter and international laws are strictly maintained.
What is needed now to eradicate terrorism is the development of international cooperation based on the current global recognition reflected in the three principles and the JCP statements mentioned above.