Jan 18/92: Lil'Wat - A time for doing



Dr. Bruce Clark
January 18, 1992

The forest industry in British Columbia is destroying the last of the world's temperate rain forest. This can be stopped immediately - by relying on the rule of law. British Columbia is west of the treaty frontier. The treaty frontier defines the line beyond which white law does not yet run.

Since the non-native governments in Canada have no territorial jurisdiction beyond the treaty frontier, those governments may not (legally) empower the forest industry to despoil the rain forest that exists there. Furthermore, since the non-native courts acquire their jurisdiction from those same governments, therefore those courts have no right to imprison natives for standing in the way of the clear cutting machinery. Government can not invest jurisdiction in courts in respect of territory over which the governments themselves have no jurisdiction.

The non-native governments and courts have no domestic law jurisdiction in British Columbia because existing international law is paramount. It overrides and renders ineffective the domestic law that conflicts with it. This paramountcy came into existence when the nations of the world agreed among themselves to be bound domestically by rulings of the International Court of Justice. Before then, the nations of the world were sovereign. After, a measure of the former unlimited sovereignty of each and every nation was relinquished - to the extent necessary to give superior rank and precedence to a set of universally acknowledged legal principles.

Of these, the foremost in importance to the world's good health and the continuity of its indigenous cultures is the universally acknowledged principle of respect. The Statute of The International Court of Justice, the Helsinki Final Act, and the several international law covenants and conventions cited in the Schedule of Law appended to the Lil'Wat Application Instituting Proceedings in the International Court of Justice dated September 10, 1991, provide a remedy today that did not exist before the Second World War. Lil'Wat is invoking this remedy by putting a case before the International Court of Justice.

The Canadian Indian rights Industry has actively opposed the Lil'Wat's defence of the rule of law by alleging that I am out to divide native communities, and on this basis arguing that the Lil'Wat cause should not be supported. In fact I am providing a voice for a segment of native society which heretofore has effectively been silenced. That is not division, it is freedom of expression. Unless the native people who I represent are heard, the oasis that human rights law constitutes will for lack of vindication of its enforcement remedy prove a cruel mirage.


[The international Court of Justice refused to hear the case on the grounds Lil'wat was not a "state". The Supreme Court of Canada also rejected the issue as "not an issue of public importance to Canada".]

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