The Washington Post
December 10, 1998

And After Pinochet?

                  By Jesse Helms

                  Thursday, December 10, 1998; Page A31

                  In July, during the Rome Conference to establish an International Criminal
                  Court, I warned that such a court would be arbitrary and contemptuous of
                  national judicial processes and would trample the sovereignty of democratic

                  The delegates and "human rights" activists in Rome scoffed at my concerns.
                  The new system of international justice, they promised, would never allow a
                  rogue prosecutor, answerable to no government or institution, to interfere
                  with the national reconciliation process of a stable democracy with a
                  functioning legal system. Only dictatorships would be affected.

                  Well, follow their deeds, not their words. The treatment of former Chilean
                  president Augusto Pinochet has confirmed my every warning. Today a
                  rogue Spanish judge is using "international law" to trample Chilean
                  sovereignty and overrule Chile's functioning judiciary, its democratically
                  elected government and the decision of its people to choose national
                  reconciliation over revenge. And the advocates of the International Criminal
                  Court are cheering him along.

                  Amnesty International USA President William Shulz fired off a letter to
                  Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last week stating that Amnesty was
                  "deeply concerned about statements you made in which you imply that the
                  decision whether or not to extradite Pinochet should be left to the Chilean
                  people." (Heaven forfend!) "Your statement," he continues, "is akin to stating
                  that . . . Pinochet should not be extradited to Spain." In other words,
                  Amnesty acknowledges that the Chilean people and their elected leaders
                  oppose Pinochet's extradition. It just doesn't care. The Pinochet case should
                  sound alarm bells for citizens of every democratic nation. It puts the integrity
                  of our judicial systems and right to self-government in danger.

                  Much has been said of human rights abuses during the Pinochet era. I do not
                  condone abuses by anyone. But the majority of Chileans will tell you that the
                  1973 coup d'etat led by Pinochet rescued their country from ruinous
                  anarchy. His action stopped Chile's transformation into a Cuban-style
                  communist state and the spread of Marxist revolution across Latin America.

                  And what is beyond dispute is that in 1988 Pinochet voluntarily submitted his
                  rule to a national plebiscite, and then respected the results of that popular
                  vote by stepping down and handing power to a democratically elected
                  civilian president. He left Chile a free, thriving, prosperous, democratic

                  The Chilean people took stock of Pinochet's legacy -- both the successes
                  and excesses of his regime -- and made a conscious decision to move on.
                  Some may disagree with this, but it was a decision for the Chilean people
                  alone to make. Now comes Baltasar Garzon, who has arbitrarily decided he
                  will overrule their decision. Okay, if overruling Chile's national reconciliation
                  is acceptable, how about South Africa? The Truth and Reconciliation
                  Commission just declared that the African National Congress committed
                  gross violations of human rights, including torture, assassination and
                  summary execution of hundreds of political opponents. ANC leaders all
                  received amnesty. Should some foreign judge now have the power to
                  overrule that decision and force them to stand trial?

                  The new system of global "justice" being created here is arbitrary and
                  capricious. The same day that Pinochet was arrested in London, Spain's
                  prime minister was clinking glasses with Fidel Castro at the Ibero-American
                  summit. Yet when Cuban exiles petitioned Garzon's court to begin similar
                  proceedings against Castro, he contemptuously dismissed their case.

                  If Castro goes free, how about Gorbachev? Under his leadership, the Soviet
                  Union committed genocidal acts, war crimes and crimes against humanity in
                  Afghanistan, and sent KGB death squads into Latvia and Lithuania. Should
                  Gorbachev be arrested on his next speaking tour?

                  Jiang Zemin travels freely between the capitals of Europe. Why not arrest
                  him and prosecute him for the thousands he murdered in Tiananmen Square?
                  Why not arrest Yasser Arafat for acts of terrorism he ordered?

                  The point is this: Who decides who stands trial and who goes free in this
                  brave new world of "global justice"? Some self-appointed Spanish judge?
                  Some foreign prosecutor in an International Criminal Court? Or the free
                  peoples of sovereign democratic nations?

                  Garzon and his allies counter that they are putting dictators on notice that
                  justice now reaches across borders. Dictators will be put on notice, all right.
                  And the lesson will be: Never step down -- you'd be a fool to give up power,
                  as Pinochet did. Fight until the last man.

                  I would gladly trade Fidel Castro a comfortable exile in Spain for his decision
                  to step down and allow Cubans to live in freedom. But if Garzon succeeds,
                  there will be no more "peaceful transitions to democracy." If dictators cannot
                  be offered amnesty or safety in exile, they will never hand power to
                  democratic movements. The incentive will be for greater repression, not

                  This is the world crusaders for an International Criminal Court are
                  unwittingly creating. The United States must actively oppose it.

                  The writer is a Republican senator from North Carolina and chairman of the
                  Foreign Relations Committee.

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