This committee, the ICHI, has been formed in December 2004 to bring governments and international organisations to military intervene against what the International Criminal Court (ICC) effectively calls the “most serious crimes” that people can commit against other people: genocide both in war- and peacetime, crimes against humanity in peacetime, war crimes, and aggression of states against other states (ICC Rome Statute, Artt.5-8).
We do not tolerate that unarmed and defenceless people are, often in the most horrible fashion, massacred, tortured, intimidated and humiliated.
The ICHI’s main purpose is to call, in relevant cases, for humanitarian intervention in the judicial sense: military intervention to prevent, halt or curtail genocide, crimes against humanity and/or war crimes without a UN mandate. Such intervention may not be strictly legal in current international law, but could and should be legitimate in the moral sense – also according to emerging common law.
The ICHI may also call for humanitarian intervention in the broader sense, in cases where mass murder, slavery and other forms of extreme suffering may legally fall partially or fully outside genocide, crimes against humanity and/or war crimes as currently defined in international law (such cases will be rare, as for instance “enslavement” is a recognized crime against humanity).
We may also call for intervention to save civilian lives in cases of interstate aggression, especially when the attacked state needs additional support and the aggressor commits most or all atrocities.
This committee has the following objectives:
- calling for the protection of people who cannot defend themselves, whereby military means are absolutely necessary.
- helping to muster the required, principled willingness among civilians, states and organisations to intervene against genocide and other mass atrocities.
The ICHI assesses whether, when and how intervention is necessary in each relevant case, and:
- is truly based on humanitarian purposes and is not misused for other ends;
- is grounded on facts i.e. on correct and verifiable information: thus there must exist a genuinely threatening situation against defenceless people;
- is decent and proportional in its use of violence and must be directed solely at combatants, all this according to the letter and spirit of international humanitarian law on warfare; and
- istimely, forceful and focused, and is prepared and carried out wisely. The committee has no patience for symbolic interventions that are too little and come too late, and save little if any lives.
We are willing to consider all possible forms of humanitarian intervention, whereby the following actors can operate alone or in combination:
- The United Nations or other international organisations that can represent a global consensus;
- NATO or other (regional) organisations with military capacities;
- One state or loose coalition of willing states; and
- One or more non-state organisations consisting of volunteers, rebels and/or professional, accredited mercenaries.
We prefer intervention by actors 1 and 2, yet our priority is to support interventions by actors 3 and/or 4 if there is no other way i.e. no mandate from the UN Security Council. In the last case we would prefer to deploy the humanitarian warrior, a hybrid of the mercenary and volunteer, receiving a decent pay yet motivated to defend the defenceless. Those who employ or host them should hold them accountable for any misdeeds they commit, at least under the Code of Conduct of the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA).
The committee seeks to realize its goals and principles through urgent letters, petitions, declarations, demonstrations, public forums and through other public activities and lobbying initiatives at national governments, ministries and parliaments, and institutions like the European Parliament.
We also participate, out of solidarity or interest in the issues concerned, in other activities, like the yearly Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague, the Netherlands, on the 11th of July, organized amongst others by the Political Committee Stari Most (www.starimost.nl;www.srebrenica-herdenking.nl).
Thus we also seek to foster an altruistic tradition within the societies and armed forces of especially democratic and free countries, so that humanitarian intervention becomes an integral part of their moral mindsets and foreign policies.