Monday, December 19, 2005

U.N. hates hostage takers, at least most of them 

I was browsing the U.N.'s web site, trolling for incendiary stuff, and found the site to be a veritable motherload for bloggers. They've done a fabulous job of publishing truckloads of documents and press releases -- can't shred this e-stuff! -- and there's something to outrage almost any web-based opinion. If you haven't posted in a few hours and need a quick topic, I heartily recommend you take a little stroll through www.un.org.

My discovery today was the details of the U.N.'s International Convention Against Hostage Taking. It appears the U.N., contrary to all my cynical assumptions and snide comments, actually does hate hostage takers, and has done so with a beauracratic passion going all the way back to 1979:

Article I, part 1: Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the "hostage") in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages ("hostage-taking") within the meaning of this Convention.
They make it that clear because of how seriously they take it. They want to make sure we know this definition applies to Ev-er-y-bo-dy.

Article 3, part 1: The State Party in the territory of which the hostage is held by the offender shall take all measures it considers appropriate to ease the situation of the hostage, in particular, to secure his release and, after his release, to facilitate, when relevant, his departure.
This is critical, because they recognize hostage taking is so evil. They want to make sure that if, say, Hezbullah operating out of Lebanon decided to kidnap someone from a neighboring country -- let's just say, for example, Israel -- then Lebanon as the state in which the hostage was being held would have to take all measures it considers appropriate to ease the situation of the hostage. This is so important, because we need the world, and Israelis to trust that Lebanon will take all those measures, and here it is in black and white: the UN says they have to. Thank God for UN declarations, right?

Well, let me tell you, long story short: this anti-Hostage-Taking thing just goes on and on, nailing down point after point, leaving absolutely no doubt about the UN putting up with any crap on this subject. I mean leaving no doubt about the UN not putting up with any crap. Well, I mean one of those. And you can bet that this serious attitude rubs off in other areas. If the UN is so thorough about Hostage Taking, you can only imagine the kind of resolutions they would pass condemning someone who tried to go nuclear and threaten the existence of another UN member state.

And this is pretty darned reassuring to me as I try to evaluate how the World Body and its various "enforcement arms" (quotes of ridicule, not attribution) will respond as Iran races toward its version of Plutonium for the Elders of Zion. But it's nice to know that the U.N. is against every one of these generic evil concepts like Hostage Taking, Bomb Blowing Upping, Acting Unlawfully Against Fixed Platforms and eight or nine other serious forms of terrorism.

It's got to include Obliterating Jewish States as well, doesn't it? I mean, we've got this anti-Hostage Taking thing as a pretty strong precedent. That's got to count for something. And it's practically air tight. Just that one little teency-weency exception buried down in Aricle 12:

In so far as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 for the protection of war victims or the Additional Protocols to those Conventions are applicable to a particular act of hostage-taking, and in so far as States Parties to this Convention are bound under those conventions to prosecute or hand over the hostage-taker, the present Convention shall not apply to an act of hostage-taking committed in the course of armed conflicts as defined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Protocols thereto, including armed conflicts mentioned in article 1, paragraph 4, of Additional Protocol I of 1977, in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self- determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
So there is that one little exception, but I can't really imagine it actually applying to anybody. Can you? And even if it did theoretically apply to something like the Comoros Islands, that really wouldn't cause any potential nuclear ne'er-do-wells to doubt the intensity of the U.N.'s resolve and consensus in these issues.

I'll probably be posting more little nuggets from the UN web site in the future. It just makes me feel better.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: