The Way Forward, Part II
The only way forward lies in combatting institutionalized racism in the United States and eradicating it, through various means, from the institutions it plagues.
Institutionalized Racism in the United States against Americans of African descent has to be addressed and recognized by different branches of the government including the Executive, Legislature, and other institutions at the Federal level, in the 52 States, as well as by the City Councils.
Without International focus by the UN Human Rights Council, and continuous monitoring by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the injustices and violence suffered over almost five centuries cannot be rectified. Furthermore, the support of the governments of the African Union and of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is necessary. The Commissioners have previously addressed their recommendations to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the governments who have ratified the Rome Statute, the Executive and Congress in the United States.
There are recommendations on reparations to people of African descent, and on the necessity for the United States to ratify and implement International Human Rights Treaties and Norms, which are addressed to both the Executive and Congress. The Commission also calls upon the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Member States of the African Union to assist in every way in resolving these urgent issues.
Although the recommendations in the Report are specific to the United States, they would also be useful to countries in the Americas and in Europe with citizens of African and Indigenous descent. These recommendations could also apply to all countries concerned with constitutional policing, and who have the need to rectify injustices to minorities and Indigenous people.
1. Recommendations addressed to the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner
a. The Report recommends the Constitution of an independent Commission of Inquiry by the UNHRC to conduct a full investigation into incidents of police violence against people of African descent in the United States; in addition to assessing whether levels of violence violate human rights and whether crimes under international criminal law have been committed.
b. An Independent Expert on Systematic Racist Violence must be appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
c. The UN Human Rights Council and UNHCHR should call for demilitarization of the police force in the United States.
d. There must be an end to impunity, and for accountability of police officials resorting to racist violence and unjustified force, before independent civilian review boards, in civil and criminal proceedings of the justice system in the United States.
2. Recommendations Addressed to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and to State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
I. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should, upon receipt of the report of this Commission of Inquiry, initiate an investigation into Crime Against Humanity (Article 7 of the Rome Statute), pursuant to the prosecutors' powers under Article 15 of the statute.
II. The State parties to the Rome Statute should initiate investigations where appropriate, and prosecute US officials for Crime Against Humanity under universal jurisdiction as described in the Rome Statute.
3. Recommendations addressed to the Executive Branch of the United States Government
A. Institutional Measures
i) The political executive should support the ‘ Breathe Act’ drafted by the Black Caucus in Congress, given that provisions in this Act are aimed at divesting Federal resources from police forces resorting to illegal incarceration, and systemic racist and violent policing methods. Moreover, it aims at ending the harm caused by the Criminal Justice System intentionally and unjustly criminalizing Black and Brown Communities, the Indigenous, and the disabled, while investing in new non-punitive measures for community safety.
ii) The jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court must be accepted by the United States by signing the Rome Statute, with particular reference to the application of Article 12, Crimes Against Humanity.
iii) The Political Executive must enforce Amendments IV, V, VIII, IX and XIV of the US Constitution, and ensure that all Police agencies, Prosecutors and all authorities in Jail, Detention and Probation facilities and in institutions concerned with law enforcement, investigation, and prosecution, implement these Amendments.
iv) The Executive must enforce provisions of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 1994, passed by Congress yet not implemented by successive administrations of both the Republican and Democratic party, which mandates that the Attorney General acquire data on the use of excessive force from 18,000 state and local law enforcement policing agencies across the nation and publish a summary of the data. To enforce implementation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 1994, Police Agencies not in compliance shall be de-funded by the Federal government and legal proceedings instituted for non-compliance.
v) Review discriminatory law enforcement strategy and sentencing relating to the War on Drugs, which disproportionately targets and racially profiles people of African descent.
vi) The Breathe Act must be reinforced by enacting, "The People of African Descent and Indigenous American (Protection Against Racist Police Violence) Act" to provide comprehensive protection and impose civil and criminal liability on individual police officials, in states, cities and councils found violating the Act.
vii) Create an effective and robust system of combating institutionalized racism within all law enforcement agencies to be monitored by an independent elected body, in consultation with civil society bodies committed to civil liberties and non-discrimination.
viii) Create an independent National Federal Law Enforcement Oversight Commission with power to monitor and regulate the performance of all 18,000 police agencies, implementing a zero-tolerance policy for instances of police brutality and use of excessive and deadly force.
ix) Issue an annual Report on systemic racist police violence to be produced by the Department of Justice and presented to the House Judiciary Committee and to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
x) Remove the qualified immunity that protects individual police officers from civil suits filed by members of the public who are at the receiving end of police brutalities and impose a clear duty on police officers to de-escalate all encounters, before resorting to force.