Special Vice Delegate Election
On July 3rd, Court Justice Lord Lore moved that then-Vice Delegate Deropia be recalled for inactivity. Deropia had stopped posting a month earlier and stopped doing citizenship checks soon after. After some discussion, a vote was held and the recall motion was passed with 33 ayes, 11 nays and 11 abstains.
This triggered a special election for the now-vacant Vice Delegate seat. Candidacy declarations began on July 13th. In the end, 5 candidates (in decreasing order of number of votes received): Pallaith, Brendog, Mall, Krevt, and Dinoium stepped forward and ran for the seat.
Pallaith, former two-term Delegate and Minister of World Assembly Affairs, posted his campaign thread and ran on a position of implementing a WA voting component to the WADP, with hopes of encouraging more membership within the WA, and pledged to hold a multi-regional endorsement event originally planned around August. As opposed to his competitors, he currently holds a seat in the Security Council, and among other positions, he stated that his "experience as Minister of World Assembly Affairs makes me uniquely suited to be Deropia's successor." (Deropia had been Minister of World Assembly Affairs previously.) He also happened to be a Sith-lord ghost that haunted the regional forums and Discord server.
Brendog, Minister of Communications, posted his campaign thread and also ran on a position of implementing a WA voting component to the WADP and holding a multi-regional endorsement event. Separately, he pledged to increase the base endorsement of TNP by promoting the endorsement tool. As opposed to his competitors, he stated that he was "more inspired by his ideas" and "has a drive that is effectively running for an elected office which would make the Vice Delegacy be extremely active," and touted his experience in leading two Ministries. He also happened to be a rocket.
Mall, a veteran campaigner, posted his campaign thread and pledged to endotart until he 'accidentally' took the Delegacy. As head of the Security Council, he would make public any and all documents I will be privy to. Additionally, he would insinuate that I have handed off the nation "Mall" to JAL. He also had a plan for when a recall vote came: stonewall it in the Courts, resulting in various members of the Court to go absent for a month, then start a recall of those Court officials. If the RA fails to recall them, he would bring another case before the Court accusing all those who voted against the recall of treason. If the AG screws it up, he stated that at this point, he would have fouled the works so much that everyone will give up prosecution efforts and just leave him alone until the next time he takes office.
Krevt posted their campaign thread and touted their experience in being Resource Manager, Map Coordinator, RMB Coordinator, Defence Secretary, and RP-Managing Head in more than 5 regions prior to entering TNP. Nations from those regions, they stated, have appreciated Krevt for taking care of the quality of RMBing and any other sort of stuff that highly affects the nations.
Dinoium, Deputy Minister of Communications, posted their campaign thread and planned to get more people into the Security Council, expand the WADP, and encourage people to endotart. Dinoium withdrew their candidacy before the election had started.
After the election ended, Pallaith came out on top with 31 votes, followed by Brendog with 17 votes, Mall with 3, and Krevt with none.
Due to Pallaith being elected Vice Delegate, he resigned his post as Minister of World Assembly Affairs. Delegate Siwale appointed Sil Dorsett as his successor.
June Judicial Elections
After the special election that had just taken place in May after Justice Zyvetskistaahn vacated their office, an official justice election was about to unfold. The Chief Election Commissioner General COE appointed Artemis and Brendog as Election Commissioners prior to the start of voting.
8 competitors had arrived for the election to run for Justice, a surprising turnout for the usually more quiet Justice elections.
Limerick is a new nation in The North Pacific, and after winning the Special June Justice Election and serving as a Justice for over a month they elected to run again for a full term. Posting his Campaign Thread, He said that he was incredibly honoured to even be considered for this position and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about him or his legal ideals, and has shown to be one of the most eager members of the court since their initial election.
"I am a relatively new member to TNP considering the time many have put in. This, however, does not compromise my understanding of our legal documents as I read them in preparation for my special election campaign and Continue to re-read them to this day."
Lord Lore was a current associative justice since March of 2018, a former Minister of Culture for The North Pacific, Deputy Minister of Culture for The North Pacific, and Minister of Entertainment for The North Pacific. He also has experience as the Lead Cartographer for TNP's forum RP. Lord Lore campainged to continue his term as Justice, many people were impressed and supported him. Lore's experience and name recognition may be a significant tribute to his popularity.
SillyString is an experienced and long-time contributor to the North Pacific, she has previously served as Delegate, Attorney General, both an Associative and Chief Justice and currently serves as Deputy Attorney General as well as an advisor to the delegate. Unsurprisingly, SillyString received magnanimous support.
"I don't have a specific platform to run on, because I don't think there is anything about the court that urgently requires changing." Read more here
Mall, the infamous shark and scary game moderator, continues his tradition of running in elections on the premise of doing as much as humanly possible to damage the region, in this case, the court. More recently Mall has proposed that court cases should be decided by a game of chess, which has prompted thoughtful discussion among the Regional Assembly. Mallorean Apathetic Evil is a rising ideology in the North Pacific.
"Vote for me and I'll find a way to make the Court interesting for a bit, it's been boring af recently and frankly the entire region needs a kick in the shins. Y'all been decadent." Here is his destructive ways infull glory
Yalkan is a strict adherent of Fluff, a former justice and is a standing officer in the North Pacific Army. Yalkan't deny the credentials. "I was a justice. Spirit of the law is for wimps. Like it or hate it the law rules. Vote for me please." Here is more of Yalkan
Syrixia, a well known Forum RPer and former Minister of Culturedecided to run for Justice as Thomas Johansson, a character from said Forum RP. Syrixia's most notable achievement was successfully annoying Lord Lore.
Cedierking ran for Justice only a month after joining the region. Honestly not much more to their campign than that.
"The rule of law is one of the characteristic institutions of a democracy, and of course, this nation. To preserve the rule of law, the judiciary must be independent and not subject to pressure from outside influences. Further, the public must have the confidence and trust that its judiciary is impartial, unbiased and free from partisan interests."
Kingsley ran into the candidacy declarations, decided he was going to run and then proceeded to disappear from the space time continuum. No thread was made, the Executive Council has figured that this may prove a threat to the multiverse. Please abstain from mentioning Kingsley to avoid a full collapse of time.
The victors of this election were Limerick1 with 23 votes, Lord Lore with 32 votes, and SillyString with 35 votes. The other unelected candidates were Syrixia with 17, Yalkan with 16, Mall with 10, cedierking with 4, and Kingsley with none!
How we Dispense Justice in Nationstates: Thinking Outside the Box
Disclaimer: I know that some of the trials I reference in this article took place when TNP law looked very different. Before people dismiss what I say by saying "the court/law" is different now so that does not apply" please understand I am not looking at how well the laws are framed or administered but rather the philosophical underpinning of our legal system.
Also please note that this article relates mainly to criminal trials, not requests for review.
'To be human is to affirm one's humanity by recognizing the humanity of others and, on that basis, establish respectful human relations with them.' Hunhist Maxim
The judicial system in TNP has had a rocky history. For many years the kindest thing that could be said about it was that it was dysfunctional. Many hours of crafting rules and legislation have gone into making the system work, and what we have now in TNP is probably the best that we can achieve given the jurisprudence that underlies it. Of course, as part of an online game the TNP court faces this paradox: the better it works the less fun it is to participate in and watch. There is a spectrum between shambolic and stiflingly dull. I leave it to you to decide where you think the current TNP court is on that spectrum.
All this tinkering has left the underlying framework of the system intact. But I have believed for a number of years that the fundamental problem in the TNP court system is not the detail or execution of the law, but the western philosophical basis of it. In this article, I would like to explain how I see the problem, and what I would suggest as a solution.
In TNP the court is essentially based on a western adversarial model. It is about establishing innocence and guilt and apportioning punishment. It excludes people who are not seen as having "standing" and draws heavily on western (largely American) legal codes. This has been the case ever since the first formal TNP courts were established.
It is easy to see why this happened. Most TNP players have grown up under such systems, many are attracted to NS because they have an interest in or have studied law. Many have used NS courts as a safe zone in which to hone skills that they hope might be used in a real-life legal or political career.
So what is wrong with it?
I do not think what is wrong is that people do not take it seriously, or that our laws are poor. Rather, I think this whole system is ill-suited to a game like ours. Here’s why.
1. TNP trials are actually rarely about guilt or innocence
TNP is a small world, and we pretty much know the innocence or guilt of most defendants who come to trial. Rather the trial becomes about proving innocence or guilt under the law. That leads to absurdities where a defendant (I am looking at you, JAL) can be manifestly as guilty as sin, and everyone can know it, but they cannot be proven guilty because the law or the court is inadequate.
So our trials are not really about the innocence of the defendant, as they are in real life, but more about the adequacy of our law. Often it is the criminal code that is put under trial, not the defendant. This is shown by the times that we have passed legislation or a court review to close a loophole in the law after a trial.
2. An adversarial system requires meaningful punishment to be taken seriously
Realistically, what can we do to one another? If we ban someone they either wait it out or move to another region. TNP is not so very special that many of us would lose much sleep over this. Even then, TNP has shied away from imposing the most harsh sentences on convicted criminals.
It is hard to take trials seriously, or expend much effort on them, when the consequences are trivial. Therefore people either refuse to participate in trials or take the piss - a pattern we have seen many times in TNP. Several times I have been defence counsel in a trial and my client has just not bothered with the whole proceedings.
3. Real life courts work in a very different setting
The basis of our court system, Western law, is complicated, technical and requires professional input for even the simplest cases; hence the saying "the man who represents himself has a fool for a client." Attempting to replicate this in TNP means that our laws have numerous grey areas, loopholes and the like. It also leads to a number of mistrials and justices going inactive because of the effort involved in a meaningless exercise.
4. Regions are about community, and an adversarial court does not help build community
This gets to the heart of this article. You can approach courts in TNP in two ways: Either you role-play them as a piss take (as McM and I did once), which undermines the system; or you can take them seriously (Flemingovia vs Grosseschnauzer) which almost always causes a break down in relationships, and often results in people leaving the region or the game.
So think to yourself for a minute. TNP is more like a village than a nation. So what if our justice system was modelled on village councils rather than the High Court? What if we abandoned a western, adversarial court system and looked at other forms of jurisprudence?
In more tribal societies the basis of law is less about guilt and punishment and more about restoring community and reconciling broken relationships. Sharia law in the Muslim world works on this basis, as do the tribal courts based on Ubantu in South Africa or hunhuism in Zimbabwe. In Papua New Guinea, village courts based on traditional custom has had much more success in bringing peace to warring Enga tribes than the post-colonial government courts.
After all, why do we need courts? Has fear of the courts kept us free from tyranny these past few years? I do not think so. Has it been the court that has stopped our delegates from overstepping the Bill of Rights? Nope. Why not scrap the current court, charge the Security Council with keeping a check on the Delegates use of power, and have the SC bring a recall to the Regional Assembly if necessary.
And what if, for disputes between citizens, we had simpler hearings with the objective of arbitration and restoring ubantu or hunhu in the region (google is your friend if you do not understand this philosophy)
In TNP in 2012 I introduced an alternative to the dysfunctional constitutional court called the Fiqh, loosely based on Sharia courts.
It gave as an alternative to the hidebound TNP courts a simple hearing, presided over by respected figures.
All those coming to the Fiqh would agree up front to be bound by the findings of the Fiqh.
As in Ubantu hearings, there would be simple process of accusation and rebuttal or counter-argument. There would be no extended debate.
Those presiding would be expected to use common sense rather than a written legal code.
It was as simple as I could make it, and for those cases brought to it, it worked admirably. Far simpler and better than the constitutional court. Because the object is restoration, in general people went away from the Fiqh happy, and continuing to be a part of the region.
My big mistake was that I wrapped the Fiqh up in Flemingovian mysticism, which meant that from the outset many people did not take it seriously, and brought frivolous cases. I placed it in the world of roleplay, so I cannot complain that people treated it as such. If I could have my time over again I would take it out of that sphere. Perhaps I should have introduced it as a secular adjunct to the judicial court? The problem was, in 2012 I could not find others who understood and agreed with the philosophy behind the Fiqh and the need for a court that aimed for reconciliation rather than justice.
I still maintain that it is a much better way to do courts in a game like Nationstates. Maybe one day there will be a region that reads these words and is imaginative enough to give it a go.
North Pacific Army Bulletin
Your beloved North Pacific Army has shifted focus in a sense this month. Our focus has shifted: No longer are we chasing the detag record. I say, nay nay. Rather, Minister of Defense Zazumo has been lazy and has us in hold after hold. Special Forces have recovered from carpal tunnel largely from the Ratboi's term, typing "in" after yet another detag.
Our alternative from spamming in was to instead do more joints than I've seen in my career over the course of a month. Lots of these were last-minute pings from Zaz; shout-out to excellent last minute attendance by Special Forces and readiness by the Auxillary. Great work!
Specifically, our most recent joint was in Imperivm Romanvm. EPSA gave us a shout and we showed up with good numbers. Held it for a day and we got 10 soldiers deployed.
We got in on a World Cup themed tag of England with the SPSF and EPSA due to BMWSurfer and I being active on the SPSF's discord and subsequently pinging about a last-minute jump. 11 soldiers ended up deploying over 5 days.
Hosted by the NPO, we got called upon to fash bash. We deployed first in The National Axis Powers, but Special Forces got called up and 5 of us (including yours truly) hit and held Carthage. This was last minute and right at the update. We assisted the Pacific armies of NPO, EPSA, SPSF, and TWPAF.
We also hosted our own joint tag raid with ERN. We hit 11 regions and tagged them in honour of our fallen comrade Deropia. This qualifies as our lolcow OP of the Month. BMW and I led a team each, as did WritingLegend of ERN. The ERN-lead team hit 6 of their 10 regions. 3 of them had an RO issue. I hit 5 of my planned 20 targets. BMW hit 4. These numbers were mostly due to truly awful update variance. Atrocious by our standards, to say the least. Heads have rolled.
New to the NPA bulletin is the Rookie of the Release. This goes out to the relatively new soldier who has impressed the most over the past release period; be it activity, skill, or anything in between. The inaugural Rookie of the Release goes out to PFC Ryasta! She has shown up for close to every op since joining and has caught on quickly.
A huge congratulations to QuietDad of TNP who finally overtook Gladio in logged operation count. Will Gladio be kicked off his golden chair? Or will the boss baby come back and take charge? Tune in on the next episode of The Northern Lights!
The Spotlight #14: Interview with ABC
Brendog: Welcome abc to the 14th Spotlight! How does it feel?
abc: It feels great, thank you!
Brendog: How do you feel about the most recent election, the Special Vice Delegate Elections?
abc: I feel that there were multiple good candidates and some newcomers, but in the end, the citizens chose an experienced person fit for the job
Brendog: Abc, for those who don't know you, tell us your backstory in the North Pacific. Where did you come from?
abc: ABC actually wasn't my first nation, my first one went by the strange name 'Zoobles', which by game mechanics was founded in The North Pacific. I kept that nation afloat for a few months, regularly answered issues, and even joined the forums and received citizenship, but ended up going inactive. When I came back to the game a few months later, I refounded Zoobles, but once again went inactive after a little while. Finally, sometime around November of 2016, I came back to NationStates and founded ABC. I can't quite remember where ABC was founded, but remember moving it to The North Pacific because of my good experience there previously and my preference for the region over others, generally for its consistent democratic leanings. The rest of course, is history.
Brendog: Can you tell us how you got involved in the executive staff?
abc: After founding ABC, I joined the forums and immediately registered for the executive staff (after receiving citizenship) as a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There I started out as part of a diplomatic team sent to The East Pacific.
Brendog: I remember I was the leader of that team! Could you give us a little more information about your time as Speaker?
abc: My time as Speaker has been a time of great work, learning, and implementation. I started out my term on not so high of a note having been elected without competition and having been a Deputy Speaker before who wasn't quite on the active side. I worked hard to change those perceptions and started out my term by training my deputies whilst keeping the office running. My first major test was holding a vote for Darcania's bill which had been much delayed when I was a Deputy Speaker as I was unfortunately inactive. Once I got past that, things started going smoother. I learned the nuances of the office, how much work there was to be done in it, and what could reasonably be done to improve things. I've managed to release RA Digests almost weekly and have brought voting activity up from about 45% to 50% through my work with the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Speaker's Staff as well are once again up and running and have played an active role in producing the last few digests.
Brendog: Very Interesting, How has being the Speaker different to being a minister?
abc: They certainly are very different. While both offices require hard work, the office of Speaker requires more than being a Minister ever did. As Speaker, work needs to be done almost constantly and any delay to that could cause major problems. On the other hand, as a Minister although work still needs to be done, it is less of a day to day job - it's more things that need to be done routinely, like every week.
Brendog: But would you prefer being a speaker again or a minister?
abc: I think I'd prefer being a Speaker again. Though I loved my time as a Minister of Home Affairs, I would like to continue my time as Speaker so that when I do leave the office, I leave thoroughly experienced Deputies, Speaker's Staff who hold great interest in the office and may serve as Deputies in the future, a legacy of doing things on time and correctly, and various guides and protocols to ensure that future Speakers start their terms competent and well-prepared.
Brendog: Alright, what is the most important thing that you have learnt as Speaker?
abc: How dangerous it can be to leave things overlooked. As a Minister, I could make a mistake over something and not worry, but as Speaker, any mistake can not only cause major criticism, but also serious problems for the region as a whole. Elected officials have higher standards than non-elected ones and we need to live up to our promises.
Brendog: I definitely agree. What would you say your greatest strengths and weaknesses are?
abc: My greatest weakness is my misinterpreting of things. I often think something is one way when it's not, but luckily as I grow more experience in this office, I tend to make the same mistakes less and less often. I'd say that my biggest strength is my ability to act on things. If I promise something to people, I act on that promise and do what it takes to make it happen. Sometimes I forget (which is another weakness of mine), but once I have it on my mind I make sure that it gets done.
Brendog: Very astute so what in light of that what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
abc: He's no longer active in this community, but Lord Ravenclaw gave me a lot of good advice back when I was a Minister. I think the best piece of advice he gave me though was not to befriend people seeking to get things done, no matter what it takes (by whatever it takes, I don't mean that in a good way). I made this mistake with Tomb when I was quick to associate myself with him. Though he was outwardly a very nice person, he had some bad intentions and a dark past which I really hadn't looked into. In politics, we like to overlook people's intentions if associating with them will mean for political gain.
Brendog: Definitely a good piece of advice so finally, if you could sum yourself up in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
abc: Despite the mistakes I've made throughout my political career, I genuinely want to make The North Pacific the best it can be.
Brendog: That is a wrap for The Spotlight!
abc: Thanks for having me.
Regional Assembly Highlights
Following an announcement by the administrative team of The North Pacific regarding the transition of the regional forums from Zetaboards to XenForo, the Regional Assembly promptly voted to alter an amendment in the region's constitution to reflect the new location of the official forums. In addition, the amendment stipulates that once posting is disabled in the current Zetaboards forum in preparation for the transition, a Forum Access Emergency will be declared, which will temporarily suspend citizen and government activity checks during this process. The amendment was almost unanimously approved, with 41 ayes to 1 nay.
Introduced by Delegate Siwale, the treaty expands upon an existing bilateral treaty between The North Pacific and Equilism, elaborating in areas of mutual defence, intelligence sharing, cultural events, and mutual recognition. The treaty passed without controversy, with 32 ayes to 3 nays.
Introduced by Sillystring on Manumission day, this bill intends to clarify the manner in which certain holidays are to be celebrated. The bill alters the legal code to classify holidays between celebration days, days which are festively celebrated, and memorial days, days which are intended to signify historical dates and events. In addition, the bill allows a sitting delegate to proclaim one-time Celebration Days. The bill is currently likely to pass by a large margin.
Introduced by Delegate Siwale, the treaty cements the close relationship between The North Pacific and Greater Dienstad into a single bilateral treaty, binding the two regions in areas of mutual defence, intelligence sharing, cultural events, and recognition. The treaty is currently likely to pass by a large margin.
World Assembly Affairs Digest
The exalted marble halls of the world assembly have echoed to the sound of tumbleweed recently. It is speculated that most enthusiasm and WA engagement has been sucked out of the multiverse by a disturbance in space-time, leaving only a motley collection of proposals and quiet discussions within the General Assembly. Whereas the GA has shown minimal signs of life, the SC has been brutally murdered and is surely dead.. A funeral is being held for the security council by concerned parties.
Delegates Vote: Against
Total Votes (World): For: 5,678 Against: 9,914
Total Votes (TNP): For: 101 Against: 405
Recommendation: The resolution "Ban on Secret Treaties" sought to end the deleterious effects of secret diplomacy, asserting that such conduct fostered an atmosphere of misunderstanding and miscalculation which ultimately resulted in greater conflict within and among member nations. The proposal at vote rejects this notion, asserting that the resolution had failed to account for the 'positive' aspects of secret diplomacy at the time of its passing. We find these claims of the supposed benefits of secret treaties in this proposal unconvincing, however, unsubstantiated either in the text of the proposal or other explanation by the author. Holding that the content of repeals should be based upon a compelling argument, we believe the proposal at vote fails to achieve this standard.
In accordance with the reasoning above, the Ministry of World Assembly Affairs recommends a vote Against this proposal.
Delegates Vote: Against
Total Votes (World): For: 12,495 Against: 3,443
Total Votes (TNP): For: 316 Against: 204
Recommendation: The current proposal seeks to replace the recently repealed WA#30, Freedom of Expression. However, where WA#30 was an elegant, comprehensive defense of individual civil liberties - which had one important omission - the current proposal puts a much greater emphasis on the rights of nations to limit free expression than it does on protecting the rights of the individual. By trying to achieve too much, in a single piece of legislation, the author has introduced a variety of limitations to free expression which are somewhat arbitrary, vaguely defined, and, may in fact empower nations to unnecessarily limit civil rights to expression that were previously granted. The Ministry feels it would be more beneficial to have multiple resolutions address some of the complex issues like defamation and company advertising rather than a single proposal attempting to blanket the many facets of free expression.
For these reasons, the Ministry of World Assembly Affairs recommends a vote Against the proposal
Delegates Vote: For
Total Votes (World): For: 14,123 Against: 2,300
Total Votes (TNP): For: 448 Against: 81
Recommendation: The Ministry concurs with the author's justification for a total ban on conversion therapy. We believe this proposal is necessary to protect the lives of an often marginalized group of people. Conversion therapy is pseudoscience with no reliable evidence of its effectiveness and is potentially harmful to those who undergo it, especially in teens and children, who have higher suicide and self-harm rates after going through such procedures.
For these reasons, the Ministry of World Assembly Affairs recommends a vote for the resolution.
Publisher: Siwale :: Executive Editor: Brendog :: Managing Editor: Malphe & Dinoium
The Northern Lights is produced by the Ministry of Communications on behalf of the Government of The North Pacific and distributed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Except where otherwise indicated, all content represents the views of the Government of The North Pacific.