Posts Tagged ‘Bhopal’
A US envoy for war crimes has appeared at the International Criminal Court for the first time.
Stephen Rapp spoke as an observer at the court’s annual meeting in the Hague, saying the US was keen to better understand the workings of the court. The US has in the past refused to join the ICC, which was set up in 2002 to try individuals for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Mr Rapp attended the annual meeting of the Assembly of States Parties, which is made up of 110 countries that have ratified the Rome Statute that founded the court in 2002.
He mentioned again the US concerns over the term “aggression” in the statute.
“Our view has been and remains that should the Rome Statute be amended to include a defined crime of aggression, jurisdiction should follow a Security Council determination that aggression has occurred,” he said.
Once again, our government takes baby steps at repairing the damage of decades of conservative cowardice. Our politicians are so bloody afraid of being adjudged responsible for our actions – political, military and corporate – that we’d rather stay out of the legal process altogether.
Instead of being a force for good, we’ve been a force for non-compliance and copouts.
Hundreds of tons of waste still languish inside a tin-roofed warehouse in a corner of the old grounds of the Union Carbide pesticide factory here, nearly a quarter-century after a poison gas leak killed thousands and turned this ancient city into a notorious symbol of industrial disaster.
The toxic remains have yet to be carted away. No one has examined to what extent, over more than two decades, they have seeped into the soil and water, except in desultory checks by a state environmental agency, which turned up pesticide residues in the neighborhood wells far exceeding permissible levels.
Nor has anyone bothered to address the concerns of those who have drunk that water and tended kitchen gardens on this soil and who now present ailments from cleft palates to mental retardation among their children as evidence of a second generation of Bhopal victims, though it is impossible to say with any certainty what is the source of the afflictions.
Why it has taken so long to deal with the disaster is an epic tale of the ineffectiveness and seeming apathy of India’s bureaucracy and of the government’s failure to make the factory owners do anything about the mess they left.
Dow has exhibited the same corporate avoidance of responsibility made famous by asbestos companies. Only exceeded by the cowardice and corruption of Union Carbide in the first place.
Excellent article – asking the hard questions of Indian politicians as well as corporate demi-gods.