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Deportation/exile of the Chagos Islanders.

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by Charles Judson Harwood Jr.


BBC Monitoring masthead: http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk/

BBC Monitoring (Caversham)
“Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK

Islanders in Diego Garcia stand-off

The exiled islanders from the Indian Ocean archipelago of Chagos are turning down an opportunity to return home for the first time in 30 years, unless the proposal includes the island of Diego Garcia currently occupied by the US military.

The islanders want to be allowed to visit the Chagos island of Diego Garcia, from which they were evicted to make way for a US base which was recently used to launch B-52 and Stealth bombers in the attack on Afghanistan.

Last Wednesday, Britain announced that it would take the Chagos islanders “to visit their ancestors’ graves”, the Mauritius newspaper L’Express reported. ...

But the American military has refused to allow any visits.

According to L’Express, Olivier Bancoult, the head of the Chagos Refugee Group, said: “We refuse in sympathy with all those Chagos islanders who used to live on Diego Garcia”.

Mr Bancoult himself was exiled from his home on the Chagos island of Peros Banhos in 1968, when he was just four years old.

According to L’Express, the concerned parties have also “chosen to decline the invitation by the British authorities because the latter are dictating to them the names of the people to make the trip”.

This is despite the fact that “the long-time dream ... to walk upon their native land for the first time in decades of exile, is now within arm’s reach”, the paper said. ...”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/ monitoring/ 2076937.stm (BBC News, London), excerpts, bold-face added; report by BBC Monitoring.

Note by CJHjr

BBC Monitoring is part of the British Intelligence Service, with the same missions as its joint-venture partner: the US Central Intelligence Agency’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).

The multi-part mission of both is, first: to faithfully record, select, translate, and transcribe foreign broadcasts, print media, and electronic services (news and comment), and then to faithfully report relevant items to their private audience, namely: within their respective Intelligence Services and to a small selection of other government officials:

“Reports from up to 3,000 sources in more than 100 languages are selected and edited by our team of expert linguists and journalists. They monitor TV and radio stations around the world, the press and the Internet. ...

BBC Monitoring collaborates closely with the FBIS (Foreign Broadcast Information Service) of the USA in an agreed division of monitoring effort and exchange of monitored material to achieve comprehensive and systematic global coverage in the most efficient way possible. ...

BBC Monitoring’s Vision is to be the best source of information on what the media across the world are reporting to aid the understanding of world events. In particular, we aim to be an indispensable information provider to the UK and US Governments and to the BBC.”

http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk/ aboutus_ corp_ plan2002_ overview.shtml (BBC Monitoring, Caversham, visited August 9 2002).

Their second mission is to propagandize their public audience, in order to cultivate support for the political aims of the moment. This principle governs their selection of a different content for their daily publications and internet subscriptions: targeted primarily to senior military and other officials of their own governments (free subscriptions), but also to the few other opinion-formers who subscribe, eg: scholastics (free or cut-rate subscriptions) and the media (expensive subscriptions).

Thus, on touchy subjects, for this public audience, they variously select, omit, excerpt, and report (instead of quote the full text). By these methods, they are able to suppress foreign news, analysis, and opinion as they wish and promote and spin other such items, in order to mold the views of their influential audience.

To this end they further deceive their public audience by reporting the scripts, articles, and broadcasts which their colleagues create and surreptitiously place into the paid mouths of some of the foreign media they report (eg: programming on established foreign stations in leased time-slots under their editorial control; articles they place in numerous foreign newspapers and magazines; scripts they write for foreign broadcasters, news services, and opposition political groups on their payroll; and broadcasts by CIA installed, operated, programmed, and scripted ‘rebel radio’ stations), thus giving the erroneous illusion to their readers that the words of their own intelligence agencies are instead the true words, opinions, news, and views of the foreigners.


Note by CJHjr


Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations General Assembly, resolution 217 A (III), (Dec. 10, 1948), excerpts:

“Preamble ...

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law” ...

“Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

“Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”

“Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

“Article 13

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

http://www.un.org/Overview/ rights.html (United Nations, New York City), bold-face added; http:// www.unhchr.ch/udhr/ (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva).


International Criminal Court logo: http://www.un.org/law/icc/ (United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs, New York City)

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome, July 19 1998, as amended Nov. 10 1998 and July 12 1999, entered into force July 1 2002), excerpts:

“Article 5
Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

1. The jurisdiction of the Court shall be limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes:

(a)  The crime of genocide;

(b)  Crimes against humanity;

(c)  War crimes;

(d)  The crime of aggression.”

“Article 7
Crimes against humanity

1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: ...

(d)  Deportation or forcible transfer of population; ...

2. For the purpose of paragraph 1:

(a)  “Attack directed against any civilian population” means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack; ...

(d)  “Deportation or forcible transfer of population” means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law; ...”

“Article 11
Jurisdiction ratione temporis

1. The Court has jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of this Statute.

2. If a State becomes a Party to this Statute after its entry into force, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of this Statute for that State, unless that State has made a declaration under article 12, paragraph 3.”

“Article 25
Individual criminal responsibility

1. The Court shall have jurisdiction over natural persons pursuant to this Statute.

2. A person who commits a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court shall be individually responsible and liable for punishment in accordance with this Statute.

3. In accordance with this Statute, a person shall be criminally responsible and liable for punishment for a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court if that person:

(a)  Commits such a crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible;

(b)  Orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted;

(c)  For the purpose of facilitating the commission of such a crime, aids, abets or otherwise assists in its commission or its attempted commission, including providing the means for its commission;

(d)  In any other way contributes to the commission or attempted commission of such a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose. Such contribution shall be intentional and shall either:

(i)  Be made with the aim of furthering the criminal activity or criminal purpose of the group, where such activity or purpose involves the commission of a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; or

(ii)  Be made in the knowledge of the intention of the group to commit the crime;

(e)  In respect of the crime of genocide, directly and publicly incites others to commit genocide;

(f)  Attempts to commit such a crime by taking action that commences its execution by means of a substantial step, but the crime does not occur because of circumstances independent of the person's intentions. However, a person who abandons the effort to commit the crime or otherwise prevents the completion of the crime shall not be liable for punishment under this Statute for the attempt to commit that crime if that person completely and voluntarily gave up the criminal purpose.

4. No provision in this Statute relating to individual criminal responsibility shall affect the responsibility of States under international law.”

“Article 27
Irrelevance of official capacity

1. This Statute shall apply equally to all persons without any distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as a Head of State or Government, a member of a Government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this Statute, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence.

2. Immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.”

“Article 28
Responsibility of commanders and other superiors

In addition to other grounds of criminal responsibility under this Statute for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court:

(a)  A military commander or person effectively acting as a military commander shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by forces under his or her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such forces, where:

(i)  That military commander or person either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes; and

(ii)  That military commander or person failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

(b)  With respect to superior and subordinate relationships not described in paragraph (a), a superior shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by subordinates under his or her effective authority and control, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such subordinates, where:

(i)  The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated, that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;

(ii)  The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and

(iii)  The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.”

“Article 33
Superior orders and prescription of law

1. The fact that a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed by a person pursuant to an order of a Government or of a superior, whether military or civilian, shall not relieve that person of criminal responsibility unless:

(a)  The person was under a legal obligation to obey orders of the Government or the superior in question;

(b)  The person did not know that the order was unlawful; and

(c)  The order was not manifestly unlawful.

2. For the purposes of this article, orders to commit genocide or crimes against humanity are manifestly unlawful.”

Via http://www.icrc.org/eng/ihl (International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, full-text database of ‘International Humanitarian Law’), bold-face added; also via http://www.un.org/law/icc/ (United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs, New York City).


“In a communication received on 6 May 2002, the Government of the United States of America informed the Secretary-General of the following:

‘This is to inform you, in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000. The United States requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositary’s status lists relating to this treaty.’”

“United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland [ratified Oct. 4 2001], Declaration:

‘The United Kingdom understands the term ‘the established framework of international law’, used in article 8(2)(b) and (e), {war crimes} to include customary international law as established by State practice and opinio iuris. In that context the United Kingdom confirms and draws to the attention of the Court its views as expressed, inter alia, in its statements made on ratification of relevant instruments of international law, including the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) of 8th June 1977.’”

‘Status of Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General’, ‘10. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’ (United Nations, UN Treaty Collection, New York City), bold-face added; also (but without ‘declarations, reservations, and objections’) http://www.icrc.org/eng/party_icc (International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, ‘Ratification Status’).


Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide {US Senate Treaty No. 81-15} (New York, Dec. 9 1948, entered into force Jan. 12 1951, 78 UNTS 277); United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 260 A (III), Dec. 9 1948; excerpt:

“Article 1

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a)  Killing members of the group;

(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d)  Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e)  Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 3

The following acts shall be punishable:

(a)  Genocide;

(b)  Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c)  Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d)  Attempt to commit genocide;

(eComplicity in genocide.

Article 4

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Via http://www.icrc.org/eng/ihl (International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, full-text database of International Humanitarian Law), bold-face added; also via the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, International Human Rights Instruments (Geneva) and (but without ‘declarations, reservations, and objections’) the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center (Minneapolis) and (ditto) the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, Medford Massachusetts). A list of the 133 parties and the text and Status of ratifications, reservations and declarations (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva).


Excerpted by Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

This document may be freely quoted.


Posted Sept. 1 2002. Updated Jan. 25 2004.


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