Thant Calls for ‘international Tribunal’ to Deal with Hijacking

Secretary General U Thant urged, in a speech prepared for delivery tonight, that an “international tribunal” be established to deal with acts of hijacking. He was scheduled to address a dinner sponsored by the United Nations Association of the United States, marking the 25th annual United Nations Day. He said it would be helpful if all governments pledged themselves to extradite all hijackers. Although he again denounced hijackings as “lawlessness” and the work of “extrem- ists.” he did not refer specifically to the Aug. 30 hijackings by Arab guerrillas nor to the Arabs who engineered the plane seizures. At a press conference last Thursday, he called the hijackings “savage and inhuman,” but appeared to suggest that they had been carried out because of Israel’s earlier detention of two Algerian nationals. (Israel’s right under international law to detain the Algerians was upheld over the weekend by UN legal experts, who based that opinion on the right of a country at war to protect itself when enemy citizens pass through. Algeria has proclaimed itself in a state of war with Israel.)

The crime of hijacking, the Secretary General said tonight, “must be brought before an international tribunal defending the interests of all peoples and nations and not of any particular people or nation.” If such a panel should be accused of breaching national sovereignty, he said, his answer would be that “the world has no other choice” and that “nations and people must have the courage to resort to adequate new methods of international law and order.” Discussing the work of the UN over 25 years, he commented that “we have failed to pacify two persisting and bloody conflicts,” an apparent reference to the Middle East and Vietnam.

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