- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

La Repubblica

On international justice

ROME The 20th century has witnessed unprecedented mass killings, deportations, and ethnic cleansing. However, the institution of the U.N. war-crimes tribunal brings hope that these barbaric acts can be consistently diminished in the future.

Public opinion, the media, humanitarian organizations, and justice workers must push reluctant countries to accept the tribunal in order to make it truly international. Furthermore, the court must transform itself into a functioning tribunal capable of producing legitimate investigations, indictments, verdicts and sentences.

Even when the tribunal functions effectively, it will not be able to address all human rights violations and it is illusionary to think that one consolidated judicial authority will be able to respond to the numerous demands of justice throughout the world. For this reason, the court must work hard to integrate itself into national justice systems. Belgium, which adopted a law in 1999 that placed international war crimes under domestic jurisdiction, must not be the exception, but the example.

Jordan Times

U.S. involvement in the Mideast

AMMAN, Jordan Shockingly unable to grasp the extent of the damage Ariel Sharon is inflicting on the cause of peace in the Middle East, the United States is doing nothing significant to stop the Israeli prime minister from dragging the region deeper into conflict.

Washington is failing to see that Sharon will abort any effort aimed at reinvigorating the political process because that will doom his government and defeat his strategic goal of destroying Oslo as an agreement and as a principle.

Sharon is driving a whole people to despair. In Palestine, in Israel and beyond, the extremist agenda is gaining ground. The impact of this on the processes of democratization, modernization and subscription to a global ethic of accepting and respecting the other is enormous.

President Bush and his advisers belittle the significance of these factors and do not seem to take into consideration when they formulate their policy, or rather, do not formulate a policy, on the Middle East.


Dishonorable conduct in war

TEL AVIV While the government is conducting a difficult campaign to guarantee that the [Israeli Defense Forces] good name will not be besmirched by a U.N. investigation of the events at the Jenin refugee camp, it turns out that some IDF soldiers brought shame on themselves, and the army, through acts of vandalism and, in some cases, looting during Operation Defensive Shield.

By doing so, they cast a shadow over the many soldiers who made an effort to behave properly and with humanitarian sensitivity during the campaign.

Reports about destruction of property by soldiers, which allegedly took place outside the course of the fighting itself, have unfortunately now been confirmed by the army. There were more than a few occasions in which private property owned by Palestinian families was vandalized indiscriminately, and without any visible purpose other than vandalism for its own sake.

There is no justification for relaxing military discipline, even during combat, nor is there any room for turning a blind eye to criminal behavior. Nor does the bitter emotional atmosphere in the country, a result of the chain of suicide bombings preceding the operation, justify or excuse any of those phenomena.

De Volkskrant

Recidivist pedophile priests

AMSTERDAM In a meeting with the 12 American cardinals in Rome, Pope John Paul II called pedophilia a crime and a disgusting sin. He promised a policy of zero tolerance. But these strong words were not translated into forceful acts.

He didn't decide that priests will be forced to step down if found guilty of sexual abuse. This will only happen when it is proved that he made this mistake "repeatedly." The others can count on forgiveness.

The result of the Rome special meeting is, therefore, disappointing.

The Vatican proves once again not to be responsive to the sentiments of the normal members of the church. It gives priority to doctrine, hierarchy and the protection of the priests, even if they are guilty of the crime of sexual abuse.

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