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U.N. Panel Wants World Court for Crimes against Humanity

March 19, 1994

GENEVA (AP) _ Racial atrocities are increasing so rapidly that the world needs a new court to try perpetrators of genocide, enslavement and other crimes against humanity, a U.N. panel against racism said Friday.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination voted 11-2 to adopt a resolution urging that the United Nations establish the new court.

The resolution expressed committee alarm ″over an increasing number of racially and ethnically motivated massacres and atrocities occurring in different regions of the world.″

The panel said in ending a three-week session it was convinced that the perpetrators persist in their crimes because they know they can get away with them.

The committee urged establishment of an international tribunal that would have general jurisdiction to prosecute the crimes of genocide, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture and rape.

The tribunal would be in addition to a special court now being set up to prosecute war crimes in former Yugoslavia, said Ivan Garvalov of Bulgaria.

A permanent court is needed to prosecute ″mass and flagrant violations″ anywhere they occur, Garvalov said.

He is chairman of the panel overseeing the 1965 International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The panel reviewed 11 countries, including recent ethnic violence in Burundi and Rwanda. It intentionally did not mention specific atrocities.

The panel periodially reviews 137 countries that are signatories of the 1965 convention. The United States is not a signatory.

″There are manifestations of racial discrimination throughout the world, in every country,″ and each country must ban organizations that ″profess and practice racist ideologies,″ Garvalov said.

He noted this would be difficult to enforce since it interferes with many countries’ constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and assembly.

He said the panel was ″very much concerned″ over the attack on Muslim worshipers in Hebron on Feb. 25 and has asked Israel to report by June 30 on steps to disarm Jewish settlers and protect Palestinians.

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