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Thursday, November 18, 2004

The UN Scandal Continues to Grow

The Scandal in the UN continues to grow and grow. Here's an update from National Review.

Alan Gerson, an international-law expert, has been a leader in the litigation of antiterrorist cases. He told me that when a person or an entity â?? even a government â?? has aided and abetted terrorism, its immunity can be bypassed in legal proceedings. When someone violates the "commitment to peremptory norms" â?? i.e., when it helps fund terrorism â?? it effectively gives up its immunity from legal action. The president can and should act on this idea.

The president could determine â?? and issue an order saying â?? that the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, according to the available evidence, violated that "commitment to peremptory norms" and thus waived its immunities to congressional and other U.S. legal proceedings. At that point, Coleman's PSI could issue enforceable subpoenas against the U.N., its staff, and the companies that participated in the program. The U.N. would then be in a position such that it had to either cooperate with the investigation or be held in contempt of Congress. (Which it manifestly is right now.)

The American system of government is based on the principles of checks and balances, and accountability. The U.N. is now unaccountable to anyone but its members. We give about $7 billion a year to the U.N. and its agencies. If the U.N. remains contemptuous of Congress â?? and the American people â?? it should suffer the loss of those funds until it decides to cooperate fully. There is no reason to trust the U.N. to investigate and punish those who abused the program, or to recover any of the funds that were looted by Saddam through the U.N.'s program. Congress should use its power of the purse to compel the U.N. to cooperate. And the president could make that much easier by declaring the U.N.'s immunities waived by its involvement in terror.

See you in court, Kofi.

This scandal continues to grow exponentially. It's past time for the President to step up and call it for what it is.

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