Monday, November 21, 2005

Australia to Take Singapore to ICJ?

The Australian outrage is so great over the impending execution of Nguyen Van Tuong that the Australian Government is succumbing to pressure totake Singapore to the International Court of Justice to stop the hanging.

Aussie AG Philip Ruddock has set his legal advisors to look into the legal aspects. It seems that PM John Howard, who has been reluctant to pursue the case too vigorously because of close relationships with Singapore, has now taken a renewed interest in the case – probably due to intense public pressure.

Howard has even advised Singapore that Aussies are not going to allow the execution of Nguyen passed unnoticed. This statement is an extent of the Aussie outrage.

The prospects of Nguyen are not necessarily good even with such a step because Singapore may ignore the jurisdiction of the international court over the death penalty. But others argued that since Singapore has taken action before the international court over regional territorial disputes, it would be difficult of rthe island nation to ignore the the court's jurisdiction in this matter.


  1. What is capital punishment? To act as a deterrent, as youself had pointed out in previous posting? I beg to differ here.:-) Capital punishment is not primarily used as a deterrent method... it is to hold someone accountable and responsible for his action, period.

    When someone did something great, we applalud and praise the person. Everyone is accountable for his/her own action. Punishment itself is to ensure this accountability stands. I do not believe punishments are mere barricades for future offenders wanna-bes.

    Nguyen knew the implications, but he decided to go ahead against his better judgment. Therefore he should be held accountable for his judgment. (or lack of it) IMHO anyway.

  2. The arrogant Aussies are just trying to impose their so-called "values" on others and it will never work with Singapore. The more you push them, the more they will resist.

    Perhaps, the White people would have more credibility as far as "values" are concerned if they would stop sidelining their own aboriginal people socially, economically and polically and stop invading another independent country in the name of "war against terror."

    Then, people might listen to you and synpathize with you.

    It seems that lives of ordinary Iraqi citizens or even the black colored aborigine people in Australia have no value but the one that has blatantly & knowingly broken the laws of another country has a higher value.

    Stop being an international hypocrite!

    Obviously, for some, that is the criteria for having a so-called first world mentality and having left behind caveman's standard!

    But, it's nothing but kissing a white man's ass for saying that as these same white men with the so-called first world mentality are the same ones who are hypocritically breaking all laws!

  3. Helen,

    Every punishment has two objectives - "punitive" or holding the person accountable for his deeds, and "deterrent" or warning others in society the punishment could be their lot if they don't behave. Likewise with rewards or praises - motivation etc.

    Capital punishment is the ultimate form of punishment for society - it's a form of premeditated murder - eg "you will be hang on 02 December"

    There are other forms of punishment - eg. life sentence, etc.

    For a State to kill a person in such cold blood is no longer an accepted form of punishment in today's world. Virtually every 1st World nation has abandoned that ultimate punishment, and some retain it only for the most terrible crimes like killing a law officer.

    But capital punishment is manmade, not an irreversible piece of religious commandment.

    Since its last State execution several decades ago in Victoria, Australia has always held to a no capital punishment doctrine based on the values of humanity and morality, namely to cold bloodedly kill a huamn being is not right for a civilised society.

    Singapore is in the same boat as Australia. It's no longer a struggling young nation that needs to prove to the world it's resolute and tough and will act tough. It can afford to be compassionate. The choice is hers - a young man's life hangs in its direction on capital punishment.

  4. Anonymous, I am disappointed that you have resorted to such arguments, even bringing in old history. We could of course go even further back to the Mongols sweeping into Europe or the Arabs moving into Spain and the Turks up to Vienna, etc etc etc.

    Australia certainly has a dark history with regards to its aborigine but it has acknowledged that sorry episode and has been making amends - that's how it has evolved into a 1st world nation with higher values.

    75% of Aussies didn't support the war in Iraq and neither did 75% to 80% of Brits or many Americans. But Australia is a democracy where an elected government makes decision for the people. Australia feels that it is in its strategic interest to support the USA in an unpopular war - its alliance with America is one of the central pillars in its strategic foreign policy. It has nothing to do with race or religion, well, at least from the Australian side.

    Some fo us are colour blind so excuse us ;-)

  5. You are wrong, the American public did support the ouster of Saddam via the now obviously doomed invasion.

    However, as one can now see, there are no so-called WMD in Iraq as had been so loudly proclaimed and as that is the case, the US and their goons and one of which is Australia, had no "locus standi" to invade Iraq.

    But then, the invasion is, in the first place, a flagrant violation of all international laws.

    That being the case, being the country with the prestigious "First World" mentality,as you put it, why isn't Australia pulling out from Iraq now?

    After all, the reason for going in in the first place has been proven to be totally false and mostly, a paranoid fabrication on the part of the Americans to justify their removal of someone they don't like.

    Well, I suppose Australia will only withdraw if their troops start to die. That's because Aussies' lives are more precious than others or rather, White Men's lives are more precious than non-white ones.

    That is the main criterion, I suppose, for some, to be a nation with First World mentality and no longer living in a caveman's atmosphere!

    So what, if you have abolished the death penalty in your own country but continue to kill others in places like Iraq? That shows a certain country treasures the lives of her citizens more but not those of others.

  6. I believe it's time for me to terminate discussion on the issue of 'capital punishment' with you as you seem to be indulging in racist remarks and drifting into Iraq rather than staying on track.

    For your info, KTemoc has stood resolutely as one blogger who has always been against the invasion of Iraq right from the start - see all my postings on the Iraq War either here or over at BolehTalk blogsite.

    Unfortunately you choose to comletely ignore my discussions of what were the strategic factors, rightly or wrongly, but nonetheless factors that were involved in Asutralia's decision to join the USA.

    When you're ready to discuss civilly, then I will respond.

  7. My so-called "drifting" to the invasion of Iraq is to show that Australia only treasures the lives of her own citizens but not others.

    If, indeed, Australia, treasures lives, via the "abhorrence" of the death penalty, why kill the people of Iraq, then? Don't the Iraqis have the basic right to repel foreign invaders?

  8. While I continue to be against the Iraqi War, I don't see the logic of your arguments, comparing the death penalty and a war. Whatever the cause, logic or justification for the war, comparing that to a state capital punishment is like comparing apples and durians.

    Australia has been the BIGGEST donor to assist in the reconstruction of Aceh after the tsunami disaster, if you want to measure compassion and support for non Australians, look at that!

    This was even after the 1st Bali bombing when many Australians were killed by terrorist bombings.

  9. My logic simple. The Aussie soldiers in Iraq are there to kill.

    If, indeed, life is so precious to the Aussies just because they have abolished the death penalty back home (as this would kill their own citizens), why are they so callously taking the lives of another countries citizens?

    After all, the people of Iraq have not invaded Australia and needed to be repelled via killing by the Aussie soldiers.

    My logic is, saving Aussies' lives is holy (even if they are convicted criminals)but travelling thousands of miles away to kill others (who are defending their motherland) is OK by Aussie standards.

  10. Well, anonymous, you need to differentiate between a government and the people. If you can't (perhaps in your country, wherever that may be, there is no such distinction) that I'll be wasting my time clarifying to you why your arguments are out of whack.

  11. You see, the reason for capital punishment is obviously not to rehabilitate somebody. The deterrent may be a secondary factor. I read an article once that touched on views of what human beings are. If human beings are machines determined either by genetics or by environment, then what do you do when a machine goes bad? You fix it. And if you can't fix it, you throw it away.However, if you think that human beings are personal creatures capable of choosing and, therefore, have moral responsibilities--when they do good we praise them,and when they do bad we punish them--then punishment makes sense.Even capital punishment.

    The usual argument against capital punishment - "It doesn't do any good because, you can't reform a dead man and, secondly, it is not a deterrent for other people committing the crime in the future."

    You see, what this argument amounts to is a pre-commitment to the idea that any action the state should take with regards to a person committing a crime should be actions that fix the problem, repair the machine, or at least influence other machines not to go bad in the future. That's why we have the idea of reform at the heart of much of our penal system. My view is that man is not a machine. That is why it doesn't matter whether someone is reformed or not. If they are properly punished then the goal of punishment is fulfilled

    Premeditated murder?:-)There is a moral distinction. It isn't the same to kill an innocent person as it is for a country to properly execute someone who is guilty. Capital punishment is social revenge. No apologies. Justice is a kind of revenge. It is getting back, but it is an appropriate getting back when executed by the appropriate authorities. :-)

    But I'll like to know your stand coz,
    1) you said there are more humane ways to punish someone other than hanging them. So, can I conclude you are not against capital punishment, but, you are against the method used?

    2) If you believe punishment should act like some sort of warning/deterrent to others, or give opportunity to the person to redeem himself to society, putting the person behind bars for the rest of his life, does not accomplish that either, right? Unless you're advocating abolishing capital punishment altogether, then, what's the difference with putting someone behind bars for life or hanging them in regards to the reasoning or justification of punishment you reasoned?

    Cheers. I know you'll probably getting tired of this, but, it's always enlightening to hear someone with different views. :-)

  12. Helen, I welcome your views, though I don't share them, for I cannot bring myself to support state institutionalised murder, which is what 'capital punishment' really amounts to.

    When I mentioned there are other forms of punishment, I provided an example of life sentence. So it's not just 'hanging' that I am against, but any form of capital punishment, even if that is sanctioned by the courts, for afterall, law is man-made and can/should be changed.

    When I listed the objectives of punishment being both 'punitive' and 'deterring', I left out one more, namely 'protection for society'. Eg. We certainly want to lock up serial killers, paedophiles, drug traffickers, arsonists, robbers (of both the traditional and white collar kinds), etc, in order to 'protect' the public from their grasp.

    But we, as members of a civilised society, should not resort to killing to solve society's ills. We should set the example and provide/elect the leadership who can established our values for human life.

    That's why I am against war, even if I do recognise in some rare cases, it may be necessary for war to avoid a greater evil as had occurred in Rwanda, Cambodia, Nanjing, Europe during WWII (the Holocaust) - as you can see, none of those mentioned genocides were ever stopped by nations who claimed to represent decency, because of national interest ("what's in it for me?").

    It must be left to the people of democracies to prod their government into actioons in the direction of decency, humanity and a value for human (in fact, all creatures') lives.

    Where a young man like Nguyen Van Tuong is still young, had only one offence and is remorseful, and would be supported by a family, there is also hope the "machine" may still be repaired. Why terminate his young life? Why waste the opportunity to save him? Why not give him a second chance? After a period to for him to serve his debts to society and assess carefully his potential for rehabilitation, he may yet be a useful citizen and of benefit to society.

    Singapore doesn't need to kill him to prove it is a strong, independent, sovereign, determined and lawful state.

  13. It's obvious the so-called white men's countries who have attained your so-called first world mentality status and had long "left" the caveman's environment via their abolishment of capital punishment can pick and choose who to live & who to die.

    Their citizens have more rights to live but others, esp. those from the Third World can go to hell.

    Their hypocrisy is there for all to see. Not having capital punishment is certainly not one of the criteria for having attained the so-called first world status and having left the caveman's era.

    Unless, of course, what first world status means is that my citizen shall never be killed (via capital punishment) but I can send my troops to illegally invade another country to impose my will on the invaded by killing the invadeds!

  14. Am just wondering if Nguyen were to be released after "rehabilitation" but goes back to drug trafficking and again got caught and sentenced to death, would this great, humanist blogger again wants him to be "rehabilitated?!"