When democracy faces threats, the circle of concern doesn’t stop at the limits of Capitol Hill. It’s true that a functional society begins with a sound and well-reasoned approach to lawmaking, and ideally, a democratic system ensures that those affected by the laws of the land will have a hand in their creation. But while the halls of congress represent the most visible pillars of democracy, threats to those pillars quickly become threats to systems of enforcement and justice, fair distributions of opportunity, and fair access to resources. When democratic governance starts to crumble, other stable systems that we rely on in a just society begin to crumble as well.
As we mentioned in the previous post, our mission is defined by these threats. Here at JAI, we recognize that protecting the rights of the many from the will of the powerful few demands constant vigilance. And we recognize that the same vigilance is necessary if we hope to protect the environment and maintain sustainability and equal access to natural resources. Our goal is to use the most effective tool available to us—the rule of law—to keep these threats at bay and bring accountability to those who seek to personally profit at the expense of justice, peace, and global stability for everyone else.
Here’s a quick overview of some of our recent and ongoing efforts.
Seeking Accountability for the Crime of Aggression
For the first time in history, the Nuremberg Trials established an early draft of what would later found a system of international law and international criminal justice. As part of this effort, acts of criminal behavior had to be defined in a way that transcended all cultures, regions, languages and systems of law and order. One of the crimes named and identified during this process was the crime of “aggression”, an unjust and unsanctioned war launched by one nation against another without the support of the international community. War is humanity’s greatest horror, and during the Nuremberg Trials, aggression was specifically identified as a “supreme international crime.” But six decades later, high ranking members of the Bush Administration launched the war in Iraq in clear violation of the will of the United Nations. So far, none of these officials have been held accountable for their actions. We’re working to change that. By pursuing accountability, we hope to strengthen and uphold the principles of international law, and we also hope to prevent future acts of aggression and unilateral warmongering.
Climate Change and Human Hardship
As a result of human activity, the planet is warming and the climate is changing. Ecosystems are experiencing unprecedented and unpredictable shifts, and these shifts will be followed by unprecedented and unpredictable forms of human hardship. The entire planet will likely be impacted by these waves of change and ensuing waves of difficulty, which may include massive migrations, displacements, and upsets in food and water distribution. We’re working on several fronts to anticipate and mitigate these problems. Our efforts include the creation of a comprehensive international legal guide related to climate change, and also a set of comprehensive guidelines for policy makers that will help them anticipate and respond to an expected refugee crisis.
Click here to learn more about the actions we’re taking on these issues and others, and please contact us if you’d like to contribute to our efforts.