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22 / 06 / 2004
Goldstone: The power of NGOs is a triumph of democracy

Judge Richard Goldstone, former lead prosecutor in the penal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia closed the Dialogue “International Justice” this evening at the Forum

Judge Richard Goldstone, former lead prosecutor for Rwanda and Yugoslavia said today at the close of the Dialogue “International Justice” that, “the current power of civil society, non-governmental agencies, is one of democracy’s triumphs.”

In his speech this afternoon he expressed his “optimism in relation to the evolution of the international criminal justice system. After World War II, there was no organism for this purpose. The first step in this direction was the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials.”

According to Goldstone, the creation, in 1993, of the International Penal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda was successful because “it showed that international justice is possible and furthermore it moved the conformation of international humanitarian law forward.”

He said “currently the United Nations system is anachronistic, the five permanent members of the Security Council are from a Cold War context and do not correspond to current international reality.”

However, he recognized that despite the state of the United Nations, “The United States should have turned to the UN because it is the organization that should ratify any international intervention. They should have done so and now they have realized that they don’t have enough power to be the world’s police all by themselves.”

In his opinion, “The 1998 Treaty of Rome for the creation of the International Penal Tribunal was successful because in just six years 100 countries have ratified it. This was made possible thanks to the development of organized civil society.”

Later on he said, “it’s dangerous and confusing to use the phrase war against terrorism, because technically it’s not a war. Terrorism is a crime and therefore law against crime should be used to combat it.”

The Dialogue “Justice international” was held June 21 and 22 at the Forum.