Threats to the International Community -
The need for Empowered International Courts
Democracy in its American expression has been based upon the tri-fold governance of judiciary, executive, and legislative branches. Ideally each has sought to be a check upon the other two, with the stated hope of preserving the rights of the individual and the common good.
Within this century, especially following both world wars, the Church has continued to emphasize the necessity of international governance for the peoples of all nations. Because of this, the Church while critical of particular stances of the United Nations has continued to support its existence as essential for the formation of an effective international body that serves the world community preserving the rights of individual, local community and the many forms of institutions that serve humanity as a whole.
Key in the development of such a body is the formation of international courts that not only serve to try war crimes but also are given the support to critique particular actions of individual leaders, nations, corporations and institutions as to policies that undermine the life of peoples. Such courts would be under the same threat as all judicial systems of establishing safeguards to preserve from the danger of partisanship, bribery and the delay of due process. However, it is such empowered courts that are desperately needed not simply in the trying of war criminals as in the genocidal atrocities of Bosnia/Yugoslavia; Rwanda and Burundi; but to grapple with the long term international horrors of political corruption whereby national leaders continue to pillage the resources and financial aid of lands already collapsing.
Regrettably, it has been the United States, especially under our current leadership, that has been so opposed to the authority of international courts critiquing our own soldiers or policies. True, the United Nations remains for the most part powerless before the strength of the United States and its refusal to allow itself to be subject to the evaluation of the international courts. But for our same leadership to resort to such courts to try other leaders and nations, only breeds a justified anger from the world community as to our being hypocrites and manipulators. Such anger breeds terrorism because it is rooted in an experience of genuine injustice.
It is foolish for us to continue to operate in such a manner. The global reality, in the absence of international courts supervising our actions, is much more threatening for the US. We are living in a world of exceptionally powerful individuals and multi-national corporations that carry far greater weight than entire regions of nations. They move at the speed that legislative bodies to which, not even our own, can respond. They shift resources often on moods and with a calculation to undermine opponents and expand their control. Such oligarchs of exceptional power change the power dynamics in the world community and definitely change the meaning of democracy. Some of these oligarchs serve wonderfully in the world community. Others have such strong ties to the criminal world that they are primary players in the undermining of nations such as Sierra Leone, Congo, Albania, Byelorussia and Columbia and fuel the devolution of many of our city centers.
Up to the present, it has been advantageous for such oligarchs to support the existence of the United States, even as a support for economic policies that encourage a freedom of practice of these same powerful institutions and persons. However, there will come a point, if not already here, when the interests of the United States are no longer to the advantage of these powerful players in the global market place. At that point, they may well be instruments for the dismemberment of the very land that taught and shaped the values of profit at any cost. In the absence of an international body to assist in reigning in these powerful bodies, the United States is simply postponing an inevitable confrontation.
I would hope that we would collaborate in the efforts of the formation of an international judiciary that even supervises our actions before waiting for the disastrous situation that is beginning to unfold internationally where whole regions are being destabilized by market forces that are not primarily free, but are emotional and often times being manipulated not to the common good but for the advantage of a few.
In the absence of good leadership, there arise persons to address the conflict and capitalize on the tension. Terrorism, dictatorship and the rise of empire is much more a reality in the absence of a court of law. Because of the speed at which political and economic forces now move globally, change is rapid and the change of power is equally rapid. The Church continues to challenge our leadership and that of the world community to place the resources and political backing behind an international court system that can hold accountable all players - nation/states, corporations, and individuals to a basic framework of cooperation.
While it will not be the kingdom, it is the requirement of Christian stewardship to bring to the world community a vision of cooperation and service that supports all of humanity in its relationship to each other and the rest of creation.