Rue Brialmont 21
1210 Brussels, Belgium
Phone :322-223-3310 URL: Website
Professes to be an International human rights organization
Soviet front organization during the Cold War
Supports Palestinian Intifada against Israel
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Its declared aims include the following: “to facilitate contact and exchanges of views among lawyers and lawyers’ associations of all countries to foster understanding and goodwill among them"; “to work together to achieve the aims set out in the Charter of the United Nations"; “to ensure common action by lawyers in the realm of law, [and in] the study and practice of the principles of democracy to encourage the maintenance of peace and cooperation among nations”; “to restore, defend and develop democratic rights and liberties in legislation and in practice”; “to promote the independence of all peoples and to oppose any restriction on this independence whether in law or in practice”; “to promote the preservation of ecology and healthy environments” [i.e., radical environmentalism]; “to struggle for strict adherence to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and legal profession”; and “to defend peoples' rights to development and for conditions of economic equality [i.e., socialism] and the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress and natural resources.”
Supportive of radical individuals, groups, and causes, IADL states the following: “As observers at political trials of defendants like Angela Davis, the Turkish Poet Nazim Hikmet, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Abane Ramdame, Nelson Mandela, and numerous members of ANC, SWAPO, and PLO [members] accused of crimes against the state, IADL lawyers and jurists have focussed [sic] the light of international scrutiny on efforts to silence dissidents. As activist lawyers, they have brought challenges to violations of individual and group rights before the International Court of Justice, the United Nations Court in the Hague, the European Court of Human Rights and the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights.”
A 1978 Central Intelligence Agency report classified IADL as "one of most useful Communist front organizations at the service of the Soviet Communist Party," noting that "in the 31 years of the IADL's existence, it has so consistently demonstrated its support for Moscow's foreign policy objectives, and is so tied in with other front organizations and the Communist press, that it is difficult for it to pretend that its judgments are fair or relevant to basic legal tenets." IADL was a relentless foe of the United States' campaign against Communism during the Cold War, regularly railing against alleged American atrocities while remaining silent on the well-documented human rights violations of Communist regimes.
The implosion of the Soviet Union has not altered IADL's views—nor shaken its faith in the promise of Communism. The organization continues to stage perennial campaigns demanding that the U.S. compensate victims of the American intervention in Vietnam, as well as victims of what IADL calls the U.S.-perpetrated "Holocaust" in Korea. IADL also remains a steadfast champion of the Castro dictatorship. In October of 2000, IADL issued a declaration denouncing "the brutal and genocidal economic war that the United States of America has been waging against the Cuban people for forty years, because Cuba has made a Revolution, established an alternative political system, and built a state order of its own invention, creating a true democracy that breaks loose from the dictated paradigms with which they pretend to rule from their power centers, over the life and decisions of the whole universe."
French resistance leader Rene Cassin, who was named IADL's first President upon the group's founding in 1946, also drafted the United Nations' Universal of Declaration of Human Rights. Although IADL claims to embrace that Declaration's prescriptions in principle, the organization has a long record of selective human rights promotion. In 1999, for instance, IADL actively campaigned against NATO's efforts to end ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia. "NATO's actions," claimed IADL, "were totally illegal, and [could] not be justified by any humanitarian argument." IADL's lawyers insisted that military intervention was never an acceptable response to a humanitarian crisis, on grounds that it constitutes "the violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter: the banishment of war, freedom from force or the threat of force, the priority of a negotiated solution of disputes and of non-intervention in nation's internal affairs." IADL further contended that "The authority for [military] intervention is exclusively within the province of the United Nations, and cannot be reconciled as within NATO's authority."
IADL's professed pacifism notwithstanding, the organization is an avowed supporter of the violent Palestinian Intifada against Israel. "Palestinians," said IADL in 2001, "have been engaged in an anti-colonial rebellion. Equipped with the latest in American-donated fighter-bombers, helicopter gun-ships, tanks and missiles, and a state-of-the-art intelligence service, not to mention its own nuclear weapons, Israel has responded by attacking a dispossessed, essentially unarmed people, with no air force, no artillery, no army." Accusing Israel of everything from "crimes of war," to "crimes against humanity," to "ethnic cleansing," IADL has called on its affiliated lawyers and jurist members worldwide "to urge their governments to suspend any help of any kind to Israel." On June 6, 2002, Jitendra Sharma, IADL's India-based President, mounted a defense of Marwan Barghouti (the imprisoned Fatah terrorist and a Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council), urging Israeli authorities to accord Barghouti "parliamentary immunity."
In justifying the Palestinian Intifada, IADL reserves the term "terrorism" exclusively for what it describes as "the State terrorism practiced by the big powers." One indication as to which "big powers" IADL has in mind comes from the group's strident opposition to the war in Iraq. Long an advocate of the International Criminal Court, in 2003 IADL teamed with leftist attorneys' organizations to press for the creation of a "war crimes tribunal." The tribunal's purpose, Jitendra Sharma explained in April 2003, would be "to try George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jose Maria Aznar and John Howard and other leaders of the Alliance [against Iraq] for their Crimes."
IADL views Israel and the United States as bastions of “racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice.” The organization is closely affiliated, both through its membership and ideology, with the National Lawyers Guild.
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