Self-determination and Human Rights in Puerto Rico
    Professor Francis Anthony Boyle
    Remarks delivered at:
    Puerto Rico's Rights to Human Dignity: Conference on Behalf
    of Amnesty Petition for Puerto Rican Political Prisoners
    San Juan, Puerto Rico
             August 28, 1999

    I am very happy to be back in Puerto Rico at this critical time in the history of the Puerto Rican People. I would also like to thank the Organizers of this Conference,
    and especially my friend and fellow attorney Dr. Luis Nieves Falcon, for honoring me with the opportunity to speak at this most important Conference.

    In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's invasion of the Americas, in 1992 I was asked by the Organizers of the International Tribunal of
    Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the U.S.A. to serve as Special Prosecutor of the United States government for committing international crimes
    against Indigenous Peoples, People of Color, and Oppressed Nationalities, including and especially the Puerto Rican People.

    The Conference was initiated by the American Indian Movement (AIM) with the support of representatives of the Puerto Rican People, the New African People, the
    Mexicano People, and progressive White North Americans. Of course, I do not consider myself to be a "White North American." I was born an Irish Catholic, and I
    will die an Irish Catholic! During the past 800 years of resisting one of the most brutal and cruel colonial occupations in the history of humankind, we Irish Catholics
    know what self-determination, genocide , and gross violations of our most fundamental human rights are allabout in our beloved Ireland, which still continue as of
    today.

    In my capacity as Special Prosecutor of the United States Federal Government, I drew up an Indictment under international law that was served upon the Attorney
    General of the United States and the United States Attorney in San Francisco prior to the convening of the Tribunal near "Columbus Day" 1992, with a demand that
    they appear to defend the UnitedStates government from the charges. I take it they saw no point in trying to defend the indefensible because no-one showed up to
    defend the United States government, though they did publicly acknowledge receipt of our service of process. I will not go through all 37 charges of my Indictment
    here. But the proceedings of this seminal International Tribunal have been recorded in a formal Verdict by the Tribunal; in a Video of the Tribunal; and in a Book on
    the Tribunal--all under the title U.S.A. On Trial: The International Tribunal on Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the United States.

    For the purpose of this Conference, I want to briefly discuss the eight charges that I filed against the United States government for committing international crimes
    against the People and State of Puerto Rico. I believe that these eight charges succinctly state the fundamental principles of international law concerning the
    People and State of Puerto Rico.

    Obviously, these eight charges of my Indictment cannot answer all the questions the Puerto Rican People might have with respect to international law. But I do
    submit that these eight charges provide a solid foundation for providingguidance to the Puerto Rican People as to their basic rights under international law that can
    be used in the future in order to resolve problems and issues as they arise to confront you.

    These eight charges of my Indictment read as follows:

      Indictment of the Federal Government of the United States of America for the Commission of International Crimes and Petition for Orders Mandating its
    Proscription and Dissolution as an International Criminal Conspiracy and a Criminal Organization

           ....

    Bill of Particulars Against the Federal Government of the United States of America

           ....

    The People and State of Puerto Rico

           Since its illegal invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, Defendant has perpetrated innumerable Crimes Against Peace, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
    against the People and State of Puerto Rico as recognized by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles.

           The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Genocide against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1948 Genocide Convention.

           The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Apartheid against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1973 Apartheid Convention.

           The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the most fundamental human rights of the Puerto Rican People as recognized by
    the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two aforementioned United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966.

           The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the 1965 Racism Convention against the Puerto Rican People.

           The Defendant has denied and violated the international legal right of the Puerto Rican People to self-determination as recognized by the United Nations
    Charter, the two United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966, customary international law, and jus cogens.

           The Defendant has illegally refused to apply the United Nations Decolonization Resolution of 1960 to Puerto Rico.  Pursuant thereto, the Defendant has an
    absolute international legal obligation to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately and to transfer all powers it currently exercises there to the Puerto Rican People.

           The Defendant has illegally refused to accord full-scope protections as Prisoners-of-War to captured Puerto Rican independence fighters in violation of the
    Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977. The Defendant's treatment of captured Puerto Rican independence fighters as "common
    criminals" and "terrorists" constitutes a "grave breach" of the Geneva Accords and thus a serious war crime.

    The distinguished Judges composing this International Tribunal consisted of seven independent Experts on human rights drawn from all over the world.

    In their Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order of 4 October 1992, the Indigenous Peoples' Tribunal did not accept all of the 37 charges that I filed in my Indictment
    against the United States government for perpetrating international crimes against Indigenous Peoples, People of Color, and Oppressed Nations. But interestingly
    enough, when it came to the Puerto Rican People, the International Tribunal accepted all of my charges against the United States government, and by a unanimous
    vote.

    In its own words, the exact findings of this Tribunal on the People and State of Puerto Rico were as follows:

    PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE

           With respect to the charges brought by the Puerto Rican People, the Defendant, the federal Government of the United States of America is, by unanimous vote,
    guilty as charged in:

           Since its illegal invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, Defendant has perpetrated innumerable Crimes Against Peace, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes
    against the People and State of Puerto Rico as recognized by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles.

           The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Genocide against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1948 Genocide Convention.

           The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Apartheid against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1973 Apartheid Convention.

           The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the most fundamental human rights of the Puerto Rican People as recognized by
    the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two aforementioned United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966.

           The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the 1965 Racism Convention against the Puerto Rican People.

           The Defendant has denied and violated the international legal right of the Puerto Rican People to self-determination as recognized by the United Nations
    Charter, the two United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966, customary international law, and jus cogens.

           The Defendant has illegally refused to apply the United Nations Decolonization Resolution of 1960 to Puerto Rico. Pursuant thereto, the Defendant has an
    absolute international legal obligation to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately and to transfer all powers it currently exercises there to the Puerto Rican People.

           The Defendant has illegally refused to accord full-scope protections as Prisoners-of-War to captured Puerto Rican independence fighters in violation of the
    Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977. The Defendant's treatment of captured Puerto Rican independence fighters as "common
    criminals" and "terrorists" constitutes a "grave breach" of the Geneva Accords and thus a serious war crime.

    As Special Prosecutor for the Tribunal, it came as no surprise to me that the Judges unanimously accepted all of my charges against the United States government
    with respect to the People and State of Puerto Rico. This is because the principles of international law with respect to the People and State of Puerto Rico are
    incontestible, and thus so glaringly obvious for the entire world to see. I most respectfully submit that the Puerto Rican People must use this analysis and the
    Tribunal's Verdict, PreliminaryFindings, and Order in order to support, promote, and defend your basic rights under international law.

    In the final section of its Verdict, the Tribunal also rendered the following unanimous decision that directly concerns the international legal rights of the People and
    State of Puerto Rico:

    ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

           In light of the foregoing findings, this Tribunal also, by unanimous vote, finds the Defendant guilty as charged in paragraph 37, which, as amended, reads:

           In light of the foregoing international crimes, the Defendant constitutes a Criminal Conspiracy and a Criminal Organization in accordance with the Nuremberg
    Charter, Judgment, and Principles and the other sources of public international law specified above, and the Federal Government of the United States of America is
    similar to the Nazi government of World War II Germany. [Emphasis added.]

    This powerful Finding speaks for itself and requires no explanation by me.

    The Tribunal concluded its Verdict with the following Order to the United States government: "Now therefore, it is ordered, adjudged and decreed that the Defendant
    cease and desist from the commission of the crimes it has been found guilty of herein." Of course, the United States government paid no attention to the Order of
    this Tribunal. Likewise, the United States has paid no attention to the decisions of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the so-called World Court of the
    United Nations System.

    Nevertheless, the Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order of this Indigenous Peoples' Tribunal qualify as a "judicial decision" within the meaning of Article 38(1)(d)
    of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Pursuant thereto, this Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order constitute "subsidiary means for the
    determination of rules of law" for international law and practice. Furthermore, the Statute of the International Court of Justice is an "integral part" of the United
    Nations Charter under Article 92 thereof. Hence the Indigenous Peoples' Tribunal's Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order can be relied upon by the International
    Court of Justice itself, by the Permanent International Criminal Court now being organized, by some other International Tribunal, or by any other Court in the world
    today, as well as by any People or State of the World Community--including and especially by the Puerto Rican People.
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