Speeches And Statements

May 4, 2005

Republicans Should Not Support a UN Court

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution. The idea that the United States Congress should demand that Nigeria deport a former president of Liberia to stand trial in a United Nations court in Liberia is absurd!

I do not object to this legislation because I dispute the charges against Charles Taylor. Frankly, as a United States Congressman my authority does not extend to deciding whether a foreign leader has committed crimes in his own county. The charges may well be true. I do, however, dispute our authority as the United States Congress to demand that a foreign country transfer a former leader of a third country back to that country to stand trial before a United Nations kangaroo court.

As the resolution itself cites, one top UN official, Jaques Klein, has already pronounced Taylor guilty, stating “Charles Taylor is a psychopath and a killer.” But the resolution concludes that “Congress urges the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to expeditiously transfer Charles Ghankay Taylor, former President of the Republic of Liberia, to the jurisdiction of the Special Court for Sierra Leone to undergo a fair and open trial…” So it is probably safe to guess what kind of “trial” this will be - a Soviet-style show trial. The United Nations has no business conducting trials for anyone, regardless of the individual or the crime. It is the business of Liberia and Nigeria to determine the fate of Charles Taylor.

If we in the United States wish to retain our own constitutional protections, we must be steadfast in rejecting the idea that a one-world court has jurisdiction over anyone, anywhere, regardless of how heinous the accusations. The sovereignty we undermine eventually will be our own.