World needs treaty's criminal court -- a...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

World needs treaty's criminal court -- a Canadian view

I note that your editorial ("World Court proposal is deeply flawed," July 22) acknowledges the need for an International Criminal Court. I am disappointed, however, that you dismiss so lightly the proposed treaty to create such a court as it was adopted in Rome by 120 countries.

Widespread killings of civilians in Rwanda and Bosnia -- genocide is not too strong a word -- have highlighted the need for an international criminal court. The international tribunals established in those cases are a good first step. But there must be a much more permanent approach. Potential war criminals must know an international body is there to deal with their misdeeds.

During years of discussions leading up to Rome, many countries raised concerns about how such a court would function. Yet, 120 countries, including close friends of the United States on the United Nations Security Council, felt that the treaty dealt with their concerns.

The international court would be a court of last resort, a final bulwark to ensure that those who commit heinous crimes do not go unpunished.

For the prosecutor to proceed independently, he or she would have to go through pre-trial process before three judges from different regions of the world. And if the prosecutor is supported by this panel, the countries involved would be able to appeal the decisions to a chamber of five judges.

I am puzzled by your reference to the Rome conference adopting "a proposal to define Israel's settlements in the West Bank as a war crime." If you are referring to Article 8, Section 2 of the Rome treaty, this is a restatement of existing commitments under Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which addresses the treatment of civilians in occupied territories.

The Rome treaty was painstakingly negotiated and reflects the views of 120 states. They saw this as an important step in dealing with crimes against humanity.

I urge you to take a closer look at the treaty and its intent. A close examination will help you understand why these countries -- among them, Canada -- support creation of the international court.

Lloyd Axworthy

Ottawa, Canada

The writer is Canada's minister of foreign affairs.

Starr's investigation is malignant farce

After $40 million and four years and the work of hundreds of people, Kenneth Starr has discovered that President Clinton had a sexual affair which he did not want revealed.

This investigation has been a farce and a malignancy, instigated by political motives.

It has distracted the country from dealing with the important issues which face us: education, health care, Social Security, the economy, foreign policy.

President Clinton has done a reasonably good job. Let the Republicans help him work on these issues instead of sniping at irrelevancies.

Ken Starr has been a cancer on the body politic. He should be removed.

Herman Binder

Baltimore

Money misspent is Clinton's doing

All the critics and advisers were right in their summation of the president's speech.

His private sex life is nobody's business and should not be impeachable.

I do believe that, because of his lying in the beginning, all the money for the case was a theft from the taxpayer.

I believe that is an impeachable offense and what Congress should consider.

We just have to remember, George Washington he isn't.

Frank F. Braunstein

Baltimore

Country deserves better than this

America deserves a moral president, an honest president, a president who holds dear what it means to lead the greatest nation in history. A president who knows what it is to be an American.

What would Washington, Franklin, Lincoln, Jefferson and Ronald Reagan say?

President Reagan made us proud again. President Clinton has disgraced us in every way humanly possible.

Now that he was forced to tell the truth for once, it's clear that he is not fit to be president, let alone to be taken seriously again. If he will not resign, Congress must do what is necessary and impeach the man who lied to every person in this country with the total backing of his cohorts and fellow Democrats.

America will not forget this gigantic betrayal of trust.

Mark Allen Jobe

Columbia

Presidential lies are not acceptable

I for one am not satisfied with the president's speech. He never apologized for lying to the American people. He expressed regret for misleading us.

That is not the same thing. He is manipulating words as he has always done. I don't accept his statement.

He had the audacity to attack Kenneth Starr's investigation, which was sanctioned by his own attorney general and federal judges. He is being investigated not for sex but for lying under oath about the relationship and for asking others to lie for him.

How can we believe him when he says that he did not suborn perjury, when he lied about the affair?

As president, he is being held to a lower standard of behavior than almost anyone else in the country. He should be held to a higher one.

He has lied too often. And The Sun defends him at every turn. Amazing.

Sanford Abrams

Baltimore

MTA should improve Metro to ease Ravens traffic

I am disturbed by the suggestions that the solution to gridlock on the light rail system during Ravens games is to use park-and-ride lots. The problems with the lots are that there are very few of them, they are all located well outside Interstate 695, they cost substantially more than light rail and they give little opportunity to "come early and stay late."

The Mass Transit Administration has a Metro line relatively close to the stadium, but (as stated by an MTA official during an interview on WBAL radio recently), MTA has no intention of running the subway line on Sundays for Ravens games because few people use the subway for Orioles games.

I tried the Metro line once, during the first year that Camden Yards was open, and was so disappointed that I would never try it again as it currently operates. There was no MTA assistance with the long lines at the stop I boarded, there was a very long walk (with my little children) and, although there were reported to be shuttle buses from the subway stop to the stadium, I never saw a shuttle bus during my long walk to or from. Thus, it is much easier to drive to an Orioles game and park in a convenient and closer location than to arrive by Metro.

I feel that the MTA has the opportunity to develop a profitable operation, and some real enthusiasm for mass transit during the Ravens games. MTA always complains that their transit system is underused but never considers that MTA itself is to blame for this problem. MTA could and should develop a much better plan to utilize light rail and Metro for Ravens games.

Marshall Plaut

Baltimore

Visitors center bigger blight on water than Bubba Gump

Your articles and letters to the editor regarding the location of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in the Inner Harbor brings to mind a greater travesty to the aesthetics of the Inner Harbor -- the visitors center building on the pier in front of the Pratt Street Pavilion at Harborplace.

During the development of Harborplace, the Rouse Company was required to limit the height of the pavilions to preserve views of the harbor from downtown and keep the buildings far enough apart so the public would have uninterrupted vistas of the harbor and the Constellation. Harborplace's architect, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, designed the glassy pavilions (reminiscent of the original warehouses that dotted the harbor) to create as much visibility into and through the buildings as possible.

Then out of nowhere arrives the visitors center building, a solid building mass of no character, blocking views of the harbor and the Constellation and having no design relationship to Harborplace or any other surrounding architecture.

The demolition of the visitors center and relocation of its services to a less obtrusive location would have a much greater impact on the public's enjoyment of the harbor than whether or not Bubba Gump Shrimp comes to Pier Four.

Michael J. Ewing

Baltimore

Pub Date: 8/21/98

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