Committee: countries reparations are often overlooked because victims’

 

Committee:
Legal Committee

Topic:
International Guidelines for Transitional Justice

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Country:
The People’s Republic of China

School:
The Skinners’ School

 

A.        While political rhetoric often idolises
how to end tragedies, there are few guidelines that guide nations on how to
repair themselves afterwards. China believes that there are a significant
number of small yet important problems within Transitional Justice, and the
notion that there is not simply one big problem also creates a complex dilemma,
as there is no clear and easy fix.

Reparations
can be very unequal: to this day Germany has paid out US $89 billion as a
result of the Holocaust, but in stark contrast, Japan have given China nothing
for the 80,000 raped at Nanking. In many countries reparations are often
overlooked because victims’ rights are not seen as threats to stability.
Furthermore, many civilians view reparations as ‘blood money’ and can be
disgusted at putting a price on a human life. Moreover, victims having to give
an account of particular horrific events as evidence can be very traumatizing.
As they recall their prior torture, the chance of PTSD dramatically increases,
but without this knowledge from victims being given as evidence, key facts are
likely to remain uncovered.

Granting
amnesty powers for truth commissions also creates a variety of problems. China
accepts that legal amnesty can often upset victims, who feel that their abusers
can have a ‘get out of jail free card’ for simply telling their story. However,
truth commissions find it hard to work without amnesty, because abusers feel
more scared to state their crimes for fear of imprisonment. This forms a sort
of ‘damned if you do or damned if you don’t’ placebo, in which the government
will harm something or someone regardless of what they do. The International
Criminal Court (ICC) has spent roughly US $1 billion in 10 years since 2012,
with only one clear verdict made, highlighting the wealth and time required for
Transitional Justice, at a time where countries resorting to Transitional
Justice often have neither of these. The vast examples of compromises stated
above, emulates the true dilemma accompanying Transitional Justice guidelines,
because in China’s eyes they extremely difficult to implement successfully.

 

B.        The People’s Republic of China has eminent respect towards
Transitional Justice. The most prolific national interest regarding
Transitional Justice is that Japan should provide reparations to China as a
result of their horrific actions in the Nanking Massacre. This is because there
has been no tangible ‘gift’ or apology for these terrors of Nanking, where
national reports from the Nanking War Crimes Tribunal states that 300,000
innocent men, women and children were killed. China considers reparations very
important, understanding how they can provide money that can aid in rebuilding
communities. Reparations will always affect people’s lives, even if some will
not realise it due to a higher priority towards vengeance. For example a new
park or school built via these reparations could help families both directly
and indirectly by helping their children or community spirit. Moreover, China
credits that, in the case of an extreme violation, denying the abuse should be
illegal. China would be interested in pressurizing the Japanese government to
illegalize denying the massacre. China resolutely affirms that Japanese
nationalism should not undermine 300,000 lives.

 

In
terms of Truth -Seeking the People’s Republic of China proposes that truth
commissions must be improved. As of yet, China has not implemented a truth and
reconciliation commission after the formation of the UN, but the Nanking war
crimes tribunal did try to put to rest the figures of the casualties and who
was to blame, against the efforts of allied powers at the time. Details to be
discovered should be focused on identifying whom the abusers were, what
underlying political, cultural and social factors caused the abuse, what the
abuses were and what eventually happened to individual victims. The People’s Republic
of China would like truth commissions to be extremely well funded, because a
bigger and better resourced truth commission will draw up more accurate facts
and conclusions. Additionally, China would reject the coalition of other
countries collaborating to form a truth commission. This notion is further
reciprocated in the fact that China has sided
with Moscow to veto any UN proposals sponsored by the West to sanction the
government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. China insisted that the fate of
Assad’s government should be decided by the Syrian people, and opposed any
interference by foreign powers. China affirms that the truth commissions
should be for the people, and hence by the people. In terms of amnesties for
truth commissions, China currently does grant some amnesties, (mainly for
 the elderly relating to crimes from World War 2). China feels that
amnesties cannot be granted to severe perpetrators, as they must pay for their
actions in front of the state whatever the cost may be.

 

In
terms of Prosecutions we propose that the high-ranking individuals should be
held accountable for the actions of their respective state. China reserves the
right to uphold the death penalty for severe perpetrators for violations of
human rights. China has also implemented laws, to nationalize a law test for
Judges to take, and also to increase meditation time for Judges so they have a
higher chance of producing a better decision when prosecuting abusers. This is
all part of the Five-Year-Reform-Plan of 2011.

 

In addition,
The People’s Republic of China does not conform to the ICC, and thus have not
signed the Rome Statute agreement. China finds the ICC to be at times unstable
and insecure. This is illustrated following the findings of Slobodan Praljak of
Yugoslavia, who drank poison in the Hague court after rejecting the court
findings. China would be interested in signing a new or more evaluated treaty,
which is stricter towards War criminals and human rights abusers alike, and
takes into account domestic laws. Many countries are not content with the ICC;
mounting pressure is building upon the ICC to change and improve; recently
South Africa have expressed their intent to leave the ICC, insinuating the need
for it to change. China hopes that the ICC will strictly stick to the principle
of complementary jurisdiction, earnestly respect the judicial sovereignty of
countries, and prudently carry out its mandate in accordance with law so as to
win the confidence and respect of the broad international community with its objective
and impartial conduct.

C.
       The People’s Republic of China recognises
the urgent need for fair and effective guidelines for Transitional Justice. Our
first proposal is that: All truth commissions around the world receive an
increase in funding; the current government should provide this new funding if
an overthrow or change of state has occurred. This is because it shows a
willing to educate people on the prior human rights violation and illustrates
itself as a suitable alternative to lead the country.

·      
Truth commission should be very well funded, no less than US $10
million per year. If the government has this money available than it should
pay, but if not, other countries should step in, to secure stability in that
country for both countries interest. Furthermore, educating people about the
violation will introduce a ‘never again effect’, not just in the country of
abuse but in any country that helps funding.

·      
Truth commissions should be given a fair amount of time to work,
around 2 years, and from this truth commission, a reparations figure should be
established, for the guilty party to pay. A smaller primary reparation should
be paid within 2 years if the truth commission needs longer than 2 years to
finish their investigation.

·      
Emphasis should be placed on the host country to actively aid the
truth commission in their investigation

·      
Only one truth commission should be tasked with investigating a
particular human rights abuse case. This avoids conflicting findings from
multiple truth commissions.

 

On the
topic of reparations, the People’s Republic of China emphasises the importance
of this issue, due to the great benefits reparations provide; and how China has
been affected by the absence of much needed reparations.

·      
Reparations should be significant, and based on a truth
commissions finding.

·      
Reparations should be predominantly collective (except in special
circumstances), in order to avoid unrest among recipients over varying amounts
of money being received.

·      
Individual reparations should be included, in the issue of women,
whether it be via forced disappearances of their husbands or from rape, where
they will need money to survive without their husbands income.

·      
‘Satisfaction’ should be a legal requirement for reparations, as
it cements the notion that the victims of the abuse are never forgotten.

·      
Reparations should be given in full and not as a bond. This avoids
feelings of not being prioritised by the respective government.

·      
Reparations paid directly to families and communities should be
paid by the current government (if there is one); however, abusing party should
take part in the social aspects of reparations such as community service or
public apologies.

 

Regarding
Prosecutions, the People’s Republic of China address that stricter rules
against abusers are imperative for any government to prosper.

·      
Death penalty to be viable in cases where abusers were either
flagships of the abuse or ordered the abuse. Their death should help bring an
end to the following of their regime.

·      
Judges involved in court cases should be from the nation where the
abuse took place, and they should be given increased mediation time.
Furthermore, we suggest censorship of these judges from the media to prevent an
outer pressure to impact on their judicial decision.

·      
Prosecutions should prioritised in order of people who undertook
the most severe abuses to the least severe abuses.

·      
Amnesties can be granted for those over 70 years of age. This
should help to disclose the entire truth of any event.

·      
A 5 year legal immunity can be granted for ‘minor’ abusers if they
substantially help the truth commission in their investigation and are fully
cooperative with authorities. After 5 years, a review of their actions can be
held and further possible prosecutions can arise if required.

·      
Truth Commissions should advise if denying the violation should be
made illegal.

 

The
People’s Republic of China recognises that the main opposition to its
guidelines will most likely be western nations who strongly support the
increased significance of the ICC and the importance of signing the Rome
Statute agreement. This is due to the fact that these nations want to
collaborate together with their similar ideologies to create a justice system
they concur with, and then pressurize smaller countries to join, implying that
their view on the matter is immoral if they do not sign. Some nations will also
want to oppose China’s view on monetary reparations; calling for a focus on
rehabilitation instead. However, China believes this will not be as beneficial
because it will be challenging to know whether it will have a better impact
than monetary reparations; moreover, high quality rehabilitation is arguably
harder to provide and sustain than providing money sums. China believes Japan
will most likely oppose reparations for the Nanking massacre because many
officials still deny parts of the massacre. Japanese sources claim that there
was only a 200,000 population in Nanking, thus the 300,000 death toll is
impossible. Contrastingly, in 2003, Zhang Lianhong, professor at the Nanking
Normal University, published an article in Beijing Daily, in which he used
historical facts to show that the population of Nanking was between 535,000 and
635,000, thus refuting the 200,000 population claim.

Case
Study

The
People’s Republic of China centres these guidelines predominantly on the
massacre of Nanking. Nanking was the former capital of the past nationalist
China and was under siege via the Japanese in September 1937. The Japanese had
overcome a resistance of 10,000; however, they were fuelled by consent among
the officers and men that they could loot and rape as they wish. 300,000 men,
women and children were killed during the 6-week attack. Tragically 80,000 were
raped and young children were not exempt from these atrocities. Many countries
believe that this was part of the War, but China flirts with the stance of a
genocide, given the fact that residents were still slaughtered on mass during
the aftermath. This is despite the successful and certain outcome in battle,
and the immense suffering of the minority Hui People. The first evident apology
from the Japanese government was only in August 10th 1995 (58 years after the
Barbarity occurred).

 

The
People’s Republic of China firmly proposes that following the proposed
guidelines would have greatly improved the situation than with the previous
guidelines.

·      
There were many tribunals investigating the deaths and rape
figures of the massacre, these figures ranging from 40,000 to 300,000 and
historians still debate the facts today. Moreover, the truth commissions were
conducted in China and Tokyo in 1947 and 1948 respectively, over 10 years after
the event, which means key facts would likely be a strayed. A single
well-funded truth commission straight after the event would have produced  more
accurate figures; consequently, there would be no need for future tribunals.

·      
There is still debate about a competition between Japanese
officers (Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda) over who could kill 100 civilians
the quickest with their sabres. If legal amnesties had been granted for five
years, then not necessarily the perpetrators, but witnesses would have come
forward and provided more evidence. Arguably the execution of the two officers
would be more just and there would be no disputes today.

·      
Denials of the massacre still exist to this day, including Tokyo
governor Shintaro Ishihara who believes only 10,000 died.Again, if a
better-funded truth commission was established, China believes there would be
insurmountable evidence to deny the full extent of the violation.

·      
General Hisao Tani was sentenced to death by the Nanking War
Crimes Tribunal. However Prince Asaka, who was commander of Japanese
forces in the final assault on Nanjing, denied the existence of any massacre and was given immunity.
Under China’s proposed guidelines, China would have held Asaka accountable and
would have tried him under their own state and not under foreign military
powers.

·      
So far, there have been zero reparations paid to China. If
guidelines were followed, then a large sum of money would be given to the
Nanking communities and to China (roughly $25 billion due the trade that has
suffered due to this). The money may not be enough to help the victims heal
completely; but it will certainly help victims and their families to an extent
and illustrates a Japanese acknowledgement of the massacre.

·      
China believes individual reparations should be paid to widows of
the killed men, or women who were raped. This should help to support any child
born as a result of the atrocity.

·      
China conceives that not enough was done in terms of ‘satisfaction
reparations’. The only notable remembrance of the Nanking Massacre is the
Memorial Day that is held on December 13th each year, however this only began
occurring from 2014 onwards.

·      
China believes that the implementation of a 5-year immunity rule
could have prevented legal turmoil following WW2. Individual cases could be
addressed at a later date when enough evidence had been gathered to
successfully prosecute those who violated the human rights of Chinese
civilians.

 

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