Developing The International Response to the Paris Attacks

International rules and respect for the commitment they represent are simply the products of decisions made on the basis of values leading to common interests or goals such as the furtherance of human dignity. States cooperate in certain situations, which can comple states to act together in certain ways. Even in the academic formulation, interim rules become customary international law once a large enough number of states having an interest in them act in accordance with them.

As Justice Jackson said at the beginning of the Nuremberg Trails, “Every custom has its origin in some single act… innovations and revisions in international law are brought about by the action of governments designed to meet a change in circumstances”

Since before the Revolution, American legal and political traditions have supported many forms of multiculturalism, through institutions such as freedom of association, religious liberty, parental rights, freedom of speech, private property, federalism, often open immigration policy, and the like. The good that religious freedom has accomplished in society has now come under attack.

The attacks by ISIS on the citizens of Paris and recent terrorist attacks in U.S. the world have again focused attention on the challenges of counterterrorism and to make sure that justice is served.

Across the world, the interaction of religion and conflict is making its effect felt. Political ideologies and events are exposed to the pressures of religion. Early signs suggest that the unspeakable killing of 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., may have been motivated by warped Islamic radicalism. If the shooting was motivated by Islamic radicalism, it was surely terrorism. Those events underscore the threat that Daesh poses to all of us.

After Paris attacks the EU nations unanimously support France’s request under article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty. In other words the challenges we are facing are not completely disconnected from the EU:s external ones, and further development of that shared security between the United States and its European allies.

Our resilience against terrorism owes a great deal to our commitment to stand up for human rights and other freedoms. But, to rage against the powers of darkness we have to do more to protect our values and to assure ourselves that we stand in the light. Sympathy for terror victims isn’t enough, change requires all of us speaking up.

As a free people we are eager to embrace vibrant debate. Justice Louis Brandeis explained this when he wrote, “Freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth. … Non-state actors such as regional organizations and ISIS demand a more nuanced taxonomy of the subjects of international law.

In this Teleforum – Developing The International Response to the Paris Attacks, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and prominent French lawyer Francois-Henri Briard addressed issues such as:

  • international cooperation on surveillance and intelligence sharing,
  • whether policies on encryption of electronic communications need to be revised,
  • what authorities or international institutions, if any, should be called upon in support of the use of force against ISIS, and
  • the nature of the response from France, the U.S., Russia, and other nations.

The discussion above focus on cooperation on surveillance and intelligence sharing processes. The answer is likely to vary by issue, time, and country, but it is also clear that international factors also effect how states define their security interests, which they then seek to pursue in the domestic political arenas. This is particularly necessary in the case of our response against ISIS and our ability of stoppning any possible attacks coming from those groups.

The U.S government has greatly extended its authority and ability after 9/11 to monitor phone calls, internet traffic, and financial flows anywhere around the globe, which are intended to stop possible attack. Generating an ability to sift though the large number of communications, technology to reimpose control over suspected terrorist groups.

As a justification for US foreign policy, the United States should legally engage in International law in preparation for the defense of its citizens and its allies and of all the values of free world society.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that State practice and patterns of cooperation over the last forty-five years have led to the development of rules of customary international law governing the use of force in anticipatory self-defense, against terrorists and rogue state collaborators. If any, international institutions should be called upon in support of the use of force against ISIS there is the United Nations Charter Article 5, there remains a general right under customary international law.

Few other International meetings come with such responsibility: Today, Foreign ministers from more than a dozen nations, including U.S. UK, France, Russia and anti-Daesh partners have begun meeting in Vienna,  seeking to find a way to resolve the conflict in Syria. And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to narrow Syria divisions.

The EU is already actively contributing to the UN initiatives and will increase its diplomatic work in support of the UN-led efforts, including the UN Special Envoy’s proposal. The EU-FAC underlines the urgency for the moderate political opposition and associated armed groups to unite behind a common approach in order to present an alternative to the Syrian people.

The last two rounds of talks, held in Vienna in October and November, produced a diplomatic road map for Syria: a cease-fire by January; talks between the Syrian government and opposition parties, mediated by the United Nations; and elections in 18 months. A process that begun by Secretary of State John Kerry to bring together the Russians, Iranians, Saudis and other major regional players with European governments to develop a diplomatic road map for resolving the Syrian conflict.

One of the trickiest parts of the road map for diplomacy is expected to be composing list of groups in Syria that are considered terrorist organizations and would be excluded from the peace process. It’s hard to move on unless we introduce clarity in this matter.

States are important actors in world politics, and international law is part and parcel of diplomacy, whether in the context of the United Nations Security Councel, economic relations of WTO, environmental protection, or how technology area regulated and for what purpose.

At the international level, statesmen and diplomats are the principal lawmakers, with international organizations, transnational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations plying subsidiary role. In certain areas, such as war and peace, investments, patents, and copyrights, it is indisputably central. Copyrights and patents are expressly included in the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Indeed, America is one of the easiest places in the world to do business. It has an open, transparent and unbiased legal system and very strong protection of intellectual property rights.

Therefore, the logic of international institutions and international Law built on shared values of distributive and procedural justice and methods of interpretion are becoming mor similar to those of national conistitutional courts and Supreme Courts.


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