The Terrorists Should
Before An International Criminal Tribunal
Created by the United Nations
by Frank K. Kelly and Robert B. Laney*, September
The attacks upon
New York and Washington were crimes against humanity under the
law of nations. Masses of defenseless people from the U.S and
many other parts of the world died in the destruction of the World
Trade towers. The instigators of these attacks, as well as their
accomplices and co-conspirators, should be identified and brought
before a special International Criminal Tribunal created by the
United Nations to deal with these and other acts of terrorism.
The punishment of persons found guilty should be decided by this
It has taken humanity a long time
to build a framework of international law. The United Stated has
taken an active role in creating that structure. For example,
after World War II the United States joined with Great Britain,
France, and the former Soviet Union to establish the Nuremberg
Charter and Tribunal. Today the Nuremberg trials are widely regarded
as a landmark of the developing international commitment to a
legal system for the protection of human rights. The current International
Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, created by the
United Nations with the support of the United States, are further
examples. By a 1998 treaty, many nations of the world agreed to
establish a permanent International Criminal Court to deal with
terrorism and other crimes under international law.
It is important for the people of the world---
as well as the American people-to have a public trial of the persons
who organized the assaults upon the World Trade Center. The attacks
upon those towers were attacks upon the world community. The people
killed in those buildings came from many ethnic backgrounds, many
faiths, and many countries.
To try the terrorists as violators of international
law would help to establish a global policy for overcoming terrorism.
It would demonstrate to the people of the Earth---including all
countries that may harbor terrorists---that crimes against humanity
shall be punished on the high principle of protecting people from
violence originating anywhere on the Earth. It would not contain
any element of "revenge" or pit the West against the
East, or the powerful against the poor. It would be a sign of
a new stage of civilization---an indication of the ethical evolution
Although military force and human risks may be
required to bring these criminals to justice, our policy should
be justice under the auspices of international law rather than
warfare with all its carnage and consequences. This policy would
help maintain peace and offer substantial hope for future generations
of the human species.
* Frank K. Kelly is the Senior Vice President
of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a former speechwriter
for President Truman.
Robert B. Laney is an Attorney, an Estate Planner, and an Account
Executive with A.G. Edwards and Sons.