Tuesday, 22 July 2008

International Justice for some

The news that Radovan Karadzic has been arrested and, one hopes, will face justice, is a welcome sign that Europe's most restless area is perhaps settling down. But what justice will he face? The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (http://www.un.org/icty/) was established in 1993 to deal with war crimes committed within the territory of the former Yugoslavia. As such Mr Karadzic's actions, if proven to be crimes, will be punished.

Following the Tribunal's establishment, the International Criminal Court was established in 2002 to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed after 30 June 2002. However, despite the ratification of the Rome Statute by 106 countries, the United States of America has failed to take part and has indeed been campaigning against the Court.

It is alleged that the reason for this is that the USA wishes to afford immunity to its citizens in relation to what it euphemistically refers to peacekeeping operations. One has to ask by what perversion of logic can a nation seek to be excused from responsibility for actions which since Nuremberg have been regarded as worthy of condemnation and sanction? Justice should be multilateral, and not just for the "other people".

If Mr Karadzic is not just to be subject to judicial proceedings, but if convicted to be the recipient of a message from the entire world that his actions were unacceptable; a message which needs to be heard in many other places: then the processes of international justice must not be tainted with the notion that they are organs of "victors' justice". To that end the USA, and other refuseniks must take part.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Apocalypse Soon?

Is the world coming to an end? Economy in recession, house prices through the floor, and rain in the week after Wimbledon. Something has clearly gone wrong, and this may lead you to ask whether a deity of one sort of another has it in for Streatham. Of course most people won't care very much about that one way or another, and wouldn't turn a hair even if a lake of fiery brimstone were to appear adjacent to the Bus Garage.

However, on balance, the lack of the brimstone lake, or even a small crack in Streatham High Road leading straight to Hell, tends to militate against divine intervention in our lives.

The bottom line is though that we are in for a rough time. The recent increases in food, energy and commodity prices are not driven by temporary fluctuations in markets; they reflect a real fall in the surplus of food production globally, partly it seems caused by an increase in the area of farmland given over to biofuels; and also the inability of oil, gas and commodifties to keep up with expanding demand, especially from the Far East.

The net result is that for the first time in 50 years, we will be seeing real declines in standards of living, although it may be that some of these are balanced by a decline in housing costs.

Certainly the amount of disposable income of most people will fall, and with them the capacity for spending on new homes or secondary investments. In the light of this, the chance of a rapid recovery for the housing market seems remote.

So selling, even at a discount, may well be a sensible option, particularly if in the next three years, you will need to refinance.

About us

Streatham, London, United Kingdom
We are a small but perfectly formed firm of Solicitors in South London. Messrs A. L. Hughes & Co. Solicitors 340 Streatham High Road London SW16 6HH DX 58457 Norbury Telephone: 020 8769 7100 Fax: 020 8677 6644 A list of partners may be inspected at the above premises. We're regulated by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority.