The wheels of Justice
May 24, 2024

The wheels of Justice

What an eventful week this past one has turned out to be! There was the tragedy in Iran on Sunday resulting in the death of its President, Foreign Minister and five other officials in a helicopter crash. But the world has reached such a state that even such tragedies in unfavourable weather conditions which would normally be considered as accidents, are viewed with much suspicion. Iran’s Supreme Leader, while wisely not ringing any alarm bells, has launched an investigation, mindful of the harmful record of powerful foes.

It is but one dramatic development in the strife-torn Middle East region, where injustice rules, taking the form of genocidal acts in full view of the world. But, strengthened by an immunity seemingly provided by the support of the US government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Defence Minister Yoan Gallant and an appropriately named “War Cabinet”, have engaged in a campaign resulting in the deaths of more than 35, 000 Palestinians, according to its Health Ministry, including a frightening number of women and children.

But even in the most unfavourable circumstances, the wheels of justice do grind, though not fast enough for many of us. Two developments have demonstrated that while the powerful may often do what they like, they cannot always do it for as long as they like. First South Africa has taken Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) calling for a ruling to halt the aggression against the Palestinian people.

Then, to the surprise of much of the world, on Monday of this week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was faced by a request by its Chief Prosecutor for arrest warrants to be issued against Netanyahu, Gallant and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes. The ICC had gained a reputation for only acting against leaders in Africa and Eastern Europe, but ignoring human rights violations in the western world. So, this request came as a bombshell.

Not surprisingly, not only has Netanyahu and company poured scorn on the war crimes warrant, but US President Joe Biden himself and the US Congress have strongly objected. Yet such is the evidence before the world that important allies of the USA like France and Belgium have backed the request for the warrants, while the chief foreign policy spokesman of the European Union, Josef Borrell, has publicly said that if the warrants were issued, countries in the European Union would have no choice but to comply with the order.

But this was not all, for three European countries- two of them, Ireland and Spain- members of the EU, joined with Norway on Wednesday in recognizing Palestine as an independent state. More than 140 nations worldwide have now done so, including some Caribbean countries like Jamaica which had been reluctant to do so.

This indicates that, as Christians say, “God does not sleep”. The tide has not fully turned in favour of the Palestinians, but it shows that the demands for respect for human rights, accountability and justice cannot be ignored. Even the most powerful earthly forces must one day have to face up. St Vincent and the Grenadines can proudly count itself among those countries which did not have to wait for the latest genocidal acts to support the Palestinian state. Those of us who hide behind religious views to support Israeli injustices must now join the rest of the world in speaking up for justice.