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.. Darko asked me if I would sit in for him at the meeting taking as many notes possible owing to the Law Projects Center possessing United Nations accreditation as a NGO (non governmental organization) with full observer status at the United Nations; I acceded.
Darko faxed me all necessary paperwork enabling my application attendance at this crucial meeting; I filled out the necessary forms and faxed them to the appropriate United Nations office for approval. It was an extremely exciting time for me. My close friend and colleague, Arnold Stark (History professor and Columbian University PhD) drove me into Manhattan walking me through the United Nations main entrance and security the day of attendance. Professor Stark himself was an old foreign service man from way back in the day and he told me I never looked as professionally sharp as I did on that day; I wore a navy blue pin striped suit. I must admit, I looked good.
Only post attending that day did I truly understand the total lapse of security existing then at the United Nations in New York City. I say this owing to the social fact that the Law Projects Center was indeed registered as an United nations accredited NGO it is true. However, closed meetings of this sort meant attendance was strictly limited to head ambassadors of valid United Nations member state missions and non governmental organizations possessing observer status were not allowed.
Unto present, I’ve yet understood whereby I gained entrance into this privy closed meeting consisting of only United Nations ambassadors, but I did. Walking to the basement floor of the United Nations building that day, I merely wore a visitors badge given to me at the front desk in no manner indicating that I was an ambassador of a United Nations mission; least of all the Bosnia mission as required for entrance. Totally unaware I didn’t possess necessary credentials to enter the meeting, I walked confidently towards the entrance door and past the guard stationed outside it. The guard never bothering to examine the type of badge I wore around my neck simply said “good day Madame” and urged me into the meeting; it was just about time to begin.
I immediately sensed something wrong once through the door past the guard. First, I was uncertain where to sit. Everyone else had a sign in front of their seat stating their country of origin. The Israeli ambassador sat in front of the Israel sign, the Spanish lady sat in front of the seat indicating she represented, Spain etc..
I looked fervently around the room seeing no seats indicating seats for United Nations observers anywhere. The last thing I wanted to do was to embarrass myself by taking the seat of an important ambassador; I noticed a couple of men seeming from some African state grabbing some meeting paperwork nearby so I inquired of them.
I told them I was a newbie and inquired where to sit and what I should do. With heavy African accents one of them said, “just grab a bunch of these papers, sit there and look like you are busy,” so I did. In fact, I grabbed as many extra copies as I could without looking conspicuous when noticing another peculiarity.
The meeting papers indicated they were for restricted for the eyes of state mission heads’ only (chief ambassadors of countries) and allowing other persons and/or United Nations employees to view them was a punishable offense. Uncertain what to do, and with the meeting beginning, I merely sat there stunned. My seat and the one the African gentleman next to me took seemed extras because they neglected having any indication regarding country origin in front of them on the table; I felt safe.
As totally immersed and interesting as I found the topics, the African ambassador seated found boring. I say this owing to noticing during the entire meeting he was merely doodling nonsensical pictures on some legal pad. I think that no one took more notes that day than me. I was especially interested in the interstate bickering about financing the international criminal court should and when it came about. Spain was particularly forceful in vocalizing its opinion that the countries giving the most monetary contributions to the court itself ought have more power over both its staffing and its innocent and guilty verdicts as well as judges appointed. My suspicions’ equally shared by scholars such as Noam Chomsky and former attorney general, Ramsey Clark were now fully justifiably confirmed. The court itself was a great travesty of justice and I was actually witnessing quarrels between countries insofar as controlling the courts judges and verdicts based on financial contributions rather than on law and true international justice.
The most shocking point of the meeting for me was when the Israeli ambassador admitted openly to the other attendees that Israel was indifferent to war crimes, crimes against humanity and would in no manner support any international structure limiting its’ ability for practicing war and peace against any other state and/or party it considered a threat to its national interest.
The ambassador representing the United States that day strongly and equally explicitly backed the Israeli position making clear American attendance was more for information gathering purposes and show than true concern for international law, world peace and social justice. When the meeting ended I slipped quickly out the front entrance of the United Nations; notes and papers in hand; I would read them in detail later that evening.
It must have amazed Darko upon returning from Serbia I actually gained entrance to the ICC preparatory closed meeting because within a week he invited me to the city to attend another important meeting at the United Nations comprised of diplomats from some very selective and prestigious NATO member states. I don’t recall the date but by his return fully I understood the definition of a closed meeting. Upon approaching the meeting door I became at once cognizant the meeting stated “closed meeting,” on the door. I did my best to point this fact out to Darko who told me to go in with him anyway; we did. Darko obviously thought because I gained entrance to the ICC meeting I ought not have in his absence, perhaps if I were with him, he covertly could gain access this closed NATO meeting; no dice. Upon entering the room, immediately some important looking man called him over and diplomatically informed him that “Serbia was not invited.” Darko pointed to me explaining that he was with the American lady but he was asked politely to leave; I followed him out the door embarrassed.