"An attack on any civilian is an attack against all civilians, an attack against any civilian by a combatant is an attack that affronts the dignity of humanity, any attack against humanity is therefore a
Crime Against Humanity"
Eric LaMont Gregory
On the 21st of December 2016, without a microphone, then President-elected Donald J Trump, in response to a journalist's question about recent killings in Berlin, Germany, uttered three words, which, if he understood them, ought to have formed the basis for the development of a rational and workable policy to counter and ultimately defeat radical Islamic terrorism.
He referred to the killings as " ... an attack on humanity."
Future historians will record subsequent events to Trump's, an attack on humanity statement as one of the greatest - stumbled upon - policy development achievements in all of recorded history.
As anyone who has been involved in negotiations at the highest level knows, once you start the discussion the only thing that limits the direction and course of the discussion is the parties themselves. There is no score or script to pattern or guide the discussion, and necessity and willingness become the arbiters of success or failure.
For reasons that can best be described as - why not - Trump's statement led to a discussion of the CIA inspired Reagan phony star wars arms race that, in part, bankrupted the former Soviet Union and hastened the demise of that regime. The Chinese put two and two together and surmised that a series of encounters with US military intelligence since the spy plane incident of August 2001, were designed to make the Chinese believe that the US possessed a star wars like technology that would render their vastly superior military aircraft numbers less than threatening. In short, the strategy was repeat the Soviet experience and coax the Chinese into a very expensive arms race. The Chinese have stated in no uncertain terms that they will not participate in an arms race to acquire technology to defend itself against a threat that exists only in the minds of the creators of Reagan's star wars, and their Yalie heirs.
An attack on humanity, is a crime against humanity. And, with that statement the leader-elect of the nation founded uniquely on the principle of the rule of law, has shown the world the way forward, to ultimately defeat those who would disrupt the peace by hiding among and indiscriminately attacking civilians to carry out their murderous campaign of terror. A way to ultimately defeat radical Islamic jihadist terrorism, and in a way that is in keeping with the values and ethics of the people of the United States of America and all other law-abiding nations.
How did we arrive at this juncture?
In those heady days after 9/11 2001, the governments with which I was most associated at that time, the Bush Administration in the United States and the Blair Government in the UK, were trying to devise a response to the attacks on the United States. There began to emerge a regime within the intelligence, security and policing apparatus on both sides of the Atlantic that sought to establish the human and material wherewithal to fight a war against terrorism.
My argument was that to do so would require decades before the new laws enacted and the bureaucracies established to administer an anti-terror campaign would have been tested as to their administrative abilities to do so and the legal soundness of the enactments to reside as settled law, decades. And, that our two great nations were already steeped in legal traditions which permit the interdiction of anyone who commits crimes within our sovereign territories or against our citizens anywhere on this planet. And, in addition we (the US and the UK) were both signatories to conventions, articles, and protocols which permit, if not encourage, super-national involvement when crimes are committed against our common humanity. The most observed of which is when any group engaged in military operations systematically attacks civilians (non-combatants).
Furthermore, in fact and in law, violations of human rights, within those states that have incorporated the Common Law into their legal systems, are not limited to those acting under the color of authority (states and government officials), as the American courts confirmed in a case not involving US citizens or the foreign government of a citizen who committed a human rights violation (Filartiga v Pena-Irala (2d Cir 1980)). In the present circumstance, in relation to Abu Sayyaf, this case warrants critical and particular scrutiny.
Therefore, everything from a legal basis, the point of view of the rule of law, was in place to investigate, charge, indict, interdict and bring to trial those who attacked civilians within the United States (committed crimes within the United States) and to pursue anyone associated with those attacks, the conspirators, no matter where they were domiciled or under whose jurisdiction they may have sought refuge. There is no place of refuge on this planet from crimes committed against humanity; from crimes involving the systematic and repeated attacks on civilians (non-combatants).
A case in fact: Slobodan Milosevic.
In essence, the facts of the case are these: Milosevic was Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, and those forces under his command attacked villages, including Srebrenica, where some 8000 Bosniak males, most of whom were civilians, were slaughtered by combatants. In addition, in excess of 25,000 females and the elderly from the same village were rounded up with brutality, abused and forcibly transferred. Many other villages were attacked similarly in a process that came to be known as ethnic cleansing. Moreover, combatants under the control of Milosevic knowingly and repeatedly attacked civilians systematically. Those attacks upon civilians by combatants contravene the rules of war, and as such, those repeated attacks constituted crimes against humanity.
Therefore, war crimes charges were filed against Milosevic and an indictment, interdiction and his delivery to the Hague to stand trial was duly executed and enforced.