Confrontation in the Plenary: UN Watch Takes the Floor,
Calls Out Official for World War II Revisionism
Cuba Interrupts; De Zayas Insists: "My books are well received"
Alfred de Zayas, a new official appointed unanimously by the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council, says Churchill and Roosevelt helped carry out "genocide" against the Germans; Israel must be kicked out of the U.N.; Iran has a right to nuclear energy under the U.N. Charter; and the West is "inciting" against the Ahmadinejad regime.
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Cuba Interrupts, Defends Anti-American Appointee
U.N. Human Rights Council, Sept. 12 session with Alfred De Zayas, newly appointed to
Cuban-sponsored mandate for a "democratic and equitable international order"
Council President: I now give the floor to UN Watch.
UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer: Thank you, Madam President. And we thank you, Mr. De Zayas, for this opportunity to engage in dialogue and learn more of your plans for this new mandate.
With great interest we read your report, and also participated in your session with human rights groups.
Section II of your report examines historic documents that guide this council’s mission to promote and protect human rights, such as the United Nations Charter.
As you note, the term United Nations began in a declaration by the anti-Hitler coalition, articulated by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which you also examine, was drafted, as stated in the preamble, in response to “barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.”
Like the Genocide Convention and the Geneva Conventions, the Declaration was influenced by the Nuremberg Tribunal which prosecuted top officials of Nazi Germany. The court, affirmed by Resolution 95 of the General Assembly, has indeed become a bedrock of our international human rights law.
Now, Section 22 of your report outlines your future plans for the mandate. Note 6 references your just-published article on "Forced Population Transfers," which in turn cites your numerous books and articles—I think it's fair to say, this is your life’s work—on the history of World War II and its aftermath, in particular on the suffering of Germans.
We have some questions in this regard.
- You wrote last year that because the Allies weren’t prosecuted for their “barbarous” crimes, the Nuremberg Court that judged Nazi war criminals has “hardly any legitimacy.”
- You accuse Churchill and Roosevelt of conniving to carry out “a form of genocide” against the Germans.
- You have said that calling the Holocaust unique can negate the suffering of others -- such as expelled Germans -- and this is “tantamount to a serious violation of their human rights.”
Mr. De Zayas, do you believe these statements support the principles of the United Nations?
Now, when a book was published about the complicity of Germans in the Holocaust, you accused the author of “racism,” and, as you wrote, you met with a lawyer in Canada to get him prosecuted for “hate literature.”
Not surprisingly -- and sadly -- your publications and lectures are promoted on the most virulent websites of Holocaust deniers, such as the “the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.”
Your report references "dialogue" and engagement. Yet you have called, in your public writings only a few years ago, for the Jewish state to be suspended from the UN, and its delegates to be denied accreditation.
You've also said that Israel “emerged out of terrorism," remains “privileged on the international scene” and. . .
Council President: Please stop reading from your statement. Cuba you have the floor.
Cuba (objecting to UN Watch): Thank you, Madam President. Cuba will speak now to make a point of order. We would ask the president to call the speaker to order.
We believe that at this point the delegations and the representatives of civil society should be referring to the report that we have in front of us, and they should express their comments and their points in a respectful way complying with UN language.
In no way can this be used to qualify the present statement which has strayed very far, referring to the latest words used.
We would ask that the speaker not be allowed to divert from normal procedures. We would ask you to take the floor from him on an unconditional basis at this stage. Thank you.
Council President: We are currently holding an Interactive Dialogue with the mandate holders of the Special Procedures. It is thus expected that participants in the dialogue ask questions or make comments in relation to the report’s remarks. May I request the NGO representative to continue his statement with this in mind.
UN Watch Director Hillel Neuer: Thank you, Madam President. Mr. De Zayas, in reference to your writings cited in section 22 of the report, footnote 6 -- I'm reading from the report in my hands now, your cited article entitled "Forced Population Transfer" -- do you think your plans for this mandate conform to the United Nations' founding principles? Thank you, Madam President.
Alfred De Zayas: With regards to the first speaker [UN Watch's Hillel Neuer], I was a bit surprised - by the insinuations and innuendos. I think they are not consistent with the practice of this house.
In any event, I think anybody who knows my own website, and anybody who knows my publications, knows that I published in Oxford, and in Rutledge and in Macmillan, and in St. Martin’s Press, and that my books have been very well received by the American Journal of International Law.
Benjamin Ferencz, United States prosecutor at Nuremberg, reviewed two of my books very prominently at the American Journal.
And Professor Berkhof of the Leiden University, in the Netherlands International Law Review. Professor Bert Röling, former judge in the Tokyo Tribunal -- also, very positively.
And the article mentioned, "Forced Population Transfer," is from the Oxford Encyclopedia of International Law. I’ve only received positive comments from professors hitherto.
So, as I said, I was a bit taken aback... Nonetheless, I welcome all comments. I listen to all of you with respect, and with attention, and I will do my level best to accomplish the mandate that you have conferred upon me. I thank you.
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