Se­cu­rity fail­ure

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Rus­sia con­tin­ues to ad­vance its sta­tus as a pariah state, ve­to­ing on July 29 the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion to es­tab­lish an in­ter­na­tional tri­bune to pros­e­cute those re­spon­si­ble for killing 298 peo­ple aboard Malaysia Air­lines flight MH17 last year.

It amounts to clear ob­struc­tion of jus­tice, which is ev­i­dence of guilt, and there is plenty of ev­i­dence im­pli­cat­ing Rus­sia in sup­ply­ing peo­ple and equip­ment, namely the sur­face-to-air mis­sile, that struck down the civil­ian jet­liner in July 2014. Rus­sia’s veto com­pli­cates the search for jus­tice, but doesn’t end it. The veto should also prompt in­ter­na­tional soul-search­ing about how to main ef­fec­tive se­cu­rity in a world in which one veto-car­ry­ing mem­ber cov­ers up its own crimes. There were plenty of great speeches given on July 29, in­clud­ing by Malaysia’s Min­is­ter of Trans­port Liow Tong Lai, who said that the in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal, of which Rus­sia would be a part, is the best way to en­sure a “de­politi­cized in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” He also said that “re­gard­less of who the per­pe­tra­tors were, we want to make sure the arm of jus­tice will reach them and there will not be im­punity” and that “we will not stop here and we will never give up.”

The other U.N. mem­bers saw Rus­sia’s at­tempt for what it was: a des­per­ate bid to evade re­spon­si­bil­ity. Its U.N. en­voy, Vi­taly Churkin, looks in­creas­ingly pa­thetic in try­ing to kick sand in ev­ery­one’s eyes by shift­ing the blame to Ukraine, the vic­tim of Rus­sia’s war. The rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Is­rael and oth­ers had it right when they de­scribed the at­tack as one on the en­tire world – since any­one could have been a vic­tim. The Is­raeli en­voy said that the at­tack may have been de­signed that way – to in­still fear in civil­ians go­ing about their rou­tine busi­ness.

“If you are afraid of the truth,” Ukraine’s For­eign Min­is­ter Pavlo Klimkin said of Rus­sia. “You are def­i­nitely on the wrong side – you are alone here.”

The Aus­tralian rep­re­sen­ta­tive said that “we must en­sure this never hap­pens again.”

That is the chal­lenge for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, but it’s not clear that it is up to the task. One way is to more se­verely sanc­tion Rus­sia and stop with busi­ness as usual. Another way is to ad­vance the global Mag­nit­sky Act, named af­ter the mur­dered Rus­sian lawyer Sergei Mag­nit­sky, to in­creas­ingly en­sure that hu­man rights abusers – in busi­ness, mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment – feel the bite of sanc­tions, travel bans and crim­i­nal cases.

More can be done in ar­eas where Rus­sia has no veto.

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