Kidnapping a dictator?

10 Sep

Associated Press reported that the Israeli Cabinet Minister, Rafi Eitan, had suggested that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can be kidnapped and brought before the international criminal court for prosecution. His crime? For threatening to wipe Israel off the map.

First, to clarify this issue, the tin pot dictator has never made such disparaging remarks. As Jonathan Steele commented in a Guardian article, ‘If Iran is ready to talk, the US must do so unconditionally’, what the man meant was, this,’

The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.

He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future.

The comments made by Eitan has naturally censured the Iranians, prompting  the U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to send a letter of protest to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon, saying that such statements amount to “vicious threats … in blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of international law.”

Eitan’s statements have its implications.

First, how would Ban Ki- Moon react to this debacle, given the seriousness of the threat? What we are witnessing is the threat of kidnapping the leader of a state. Even if Ahmadinejad is the President, what gives Israel the right to kidnap anyone as it please?

Second, what has driven Eitan to made such comments? Was it to divert attention away from Israel’s disastrous policies in the Occupied Territories? A precursor to initiating military action to further destabilise the region?

Third, if the kidnapping does occur and is successful, what makes Eitan so sure that Ahmadinejad can be tried by the ICC? that the ICC would take up the case? and for what charges? Even if Ahmadinejad did say he was going to annihilate Israel (which he did not), is that enough to charge him for crimes against humanity or genocide? Certainly, there are others who should be prosecuted for actually having committed war crimes.

The list will include George Bush and his hawkish neo-con administration; the previous Australian Prime Minister, John Howard; and Tony Blair for misleading the public to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, which has resulted in large scale sectarian violence, physical harm and deaths to the civilians of these countries. Even the Israeli government should be on the list for its ongoing genocidal policies in the Occupied Territories.

It is therefore a bit rich, if not hypocritcal for Eitan to make such threats, which are clearly out of sync with international norms. Eitan should know that no one and no state has the right to kidnap anyone and remove them to another jurisdiction, simply because it contravenes international human rights law. That is why the secret rendition programs and Guantanamo Bay established by the US has received so much wide-spread criticism.


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