The Conference took place on 14th May 2010 and was in the form of a trial.Globalisation was charged with the offences of hindering development and widening the gap between the poor and the rich.
The audience were the jury and they heard the witness statements of Upendra Baxi - a top International lawyer, Andrew Mold - an economist with the OECD, Larry English - the Chief executive of Homeless International and Mehari a Phd student from Ethiopia.
These witnesses were also cross examined by the different Prosecution and Defence Lawyers. After deliberating and hearing the sum up of the court trial by the judge, the jury returned with the verdict of guilty.
So globalisation was found guilty of these crimes.
We listened to submissions from prosecution, defence and expert witnesses on the subject of Globalisation and whether it was guilty of hindering development thus widening the gap between the rich and poor.
The issue of Globalisation no doubt remains a controversial one in many respects. As our esteemed witnesses had indicated in their testimonies (whether intentional or not) all of the aspects of globalisation cannot be divided into discrete categories.
However, for the purpose of the trial we evaluated globalisation on charges within four different sectors such as: Trade, International Law, Experiences from civil society and the impact of globalisation on the socio-economic conditions of Ethiopia presented in this trial.
On trade, the witness shed light on the different impacts that multilateral trade has and continues to have on national economies. Andrew Mold pointed out that nation states continue to have control over the international trade system and that it is up to them to develop innovative strategic participatory approach to remedy the structural inequalities of the current existing international trading system.
The Prosecution questioned whether the GDP Index could determine whether economic growth is connected to social equality. While the Defence pointed out that after all trade has increased wealth.
Furthermore, defence questioned the relevance of the accusations made against global trade for the judgment about globalisation.
Professor Baxi negated the existence of ONE International Law. He however emphasised that there are various International Law regimes. In addition he highlighted the fact that although International Economic law might be the dominating regime in comparison to International Human Rights Law, there is nevertheless a dialectic relationship between both.
The prosecution pointed out that even the international human rights law regime has been used by international institutions and states to justify economic and military interventions into national sovereignty, often causing long lasting harms that most of all affect the poor.
The defence on the other hand, explored the potential of Human Rights to facilitate real and balanced development.
As indicated by Mr. English, International Aid is important for the promotion of civil society in developing countries. However, the distribution and allocation of aid has not been adequate and fair.
During the trial, we have considered issues such as over dependency on international aid and this is up to the jury to decide whether these are necessary by products of globalisation.
Today we have also heard about the impacts of globalisation on Ethiopia and explored the international pressures from IFIs to open local markets to the vulnerabilities of the international market. And such an interface resulted in increased loss of employment and furthered poverty.
On the other hand, the market received space within the international market for example within the USA and the European Union though Ethiopia was unable to take advantage of this.
In this trial, we witnessed the unprecedented analysis and explorations about advantages and disadvantages of a phenomenon that is not avoidable but can be made fairer. I would ask the jury to consider the testimonies provided by the expert witnesses and overall discussion to (if I may borrow the word) use their democratic powers to choose the verdict whether they find globalisation guilty or not of the afore-mentioned charges in this trial.