UN, Guns and Thompson
Via the Google Snooze Alerts came this, which notes that Fred Thompson managed to get all of his facts wrong on guns and the UN. It links to this bit by Mark Leon Goldberg which notes things Fred gets wrong. Such as:
As you can see, these are pretty broad directives. And as you can see, no country is required to do anything. In fact, the only UN body that can require something of a member state is the Security Council, on which the United States has a veto.
Here’s the report (via David Hardy) that Fred was referring to. I can’t get Goldberg’s links to work so I figure he’s referencing something else since I can’t find his excerpts there. But, the actual report notes that:
Minimum effective measures that States must adopt to comply with their due diligence obligations to prevent small arms violence must go beyond mere criminalization of acts of armed violence. States must also enforce a minimum licensing requirement designed to keep small arms out of the hands of persons who are most likely to misuse them. Other effective measures should also be enforced to protect the right to life, as suggested by the draft principles on the prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms that have been proposed by the Special Rapporteur.
Now, I’m no big city lawyer either but the phrase must adopt seems to be a requirement to me. But, as is noted, the UN has about, err, zero enforcement capability with respect to, well, any thing. So, I think Fred got it right and Goldberg’s criticism is also valid. But Goldberg continues with:
Thompson next gets philosophical and channels Grotius. Really! Says Thompson, “the UN report remarkably denied the existence of any human right to self-defense, evidently overlooking the work of Hugo Grotius, the 17th century scholar credited as the founder of international law, who wrote, ‘It is to be observed that [the] Right of Self-Defence, arises directly and immediately from the Care of our own Preservation, which Nature recommends to every one…’ and that this right is so primary, that it cannot be denied on the basis that it is not ‘expressly set forth.’
Back in 1945, the framers of the UN Charter were not going to take any chances, so they expressly included the right to self defense. See Article 51 of the UN Charter, which affirms the Grotian view that self-defense is an ‘inherent’ right.
So, Fred Thompson says this report says X and you respond by saying that this other thing says Y?
If you look at the report, it states clearly:
“20. Self-defence is a widely recognized, yet legally proscribed, exception to the universal duty to respect the right to life of others. Self-defence is a basis for exemption from criminal responsibility that can be raised by any State agent or non-State actor. Self-defence is sometimes designated as a “right”. There is inadequate legal support for such an interpretation. Self-defence is more properly characterized as a means of protecting the right to life and, as such, a basis for avoiding responsibility for violating the rights of another. “
Uh, Mark? Seems to me he managed to get all of his facts wrong.
Update: More alleged logic and facts. Seems, once again, Fred said one thing (the correct thing) so look, a pony.
Update 2: Even more on logic and facts from Gunstar1 in comments:
Report, bottom of page 2:
Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations applies to States acting in self-defence against armed attacks against their State sovereignty. It does not apply to situations of self-defence for individual persons.