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- "It is obvious these creatures are not covered by the Convention of Civilized Systems. The Jedi Council has no say in the matter."
- ―Chairman Chi Cho, on the Talz
The Convention of Civilized Systems was a bill of rights that the Galactic Republic ratified by the time of the Clone Wars. It was put into effect to apply better methods of determining a species' sentience, and it additionally granted the rights of sentient Republic citizens to those who were deemed to deserve them. The decree provided various tests to ascertain sentience, and amendments to the act expanded its coverage to species in multiple star systems that appeared incapable of interstellar travel. However, the law in fact increased genocidal crimes against previously undocumented sentient species, as some individuals drove species to extinction and then covered up the massacres so as to avoid prosecution by the Republic.
Besides these illicit speciecides, another example of a failure of the law's enforcement occurred when Chairman Chi Cho of the Pantoran Assembly declared war on the Talz tribe that had colonized the ice world Orto Plutonia, intent on discrediting their claim to Orto Plutonia and restoring that of the planet's moon, Pantora. The fiasco ended when Senator Riyo Chuchi negotiated a peace agreement with the Talz, who were in fact sentient despite Cho's claims that they were not covered by the Convention of Civilized Systems.
- "If the Jedi are able to communicate with them, their status is in doubt."
- ―Senator Riyo Chuchi, on the Talz's level of sentience
The Convention of Civilized Systems was a bill of rights that defined the methods of determining the sentience of species within Galactic Republic territory. The decree also afforded species the rights granted to sentient Republic citizens if they were deemed to deserve them. The bill of rights offered tests to ascertain sentience, from tool use to evaluations of the species' complexity and its ability to "communicate advanced concepts" with members of other species. Under the law, standard protocol for first contact with an unfamiliar species was to transmit images of the species in question to Republic authorities to further determine the species' level of sentience. The Arquata Station Amendments to the bill of rights extended the decree's coverage to sentient species that lived in multiple star systems but appeared incapable of interstellar travel, such as the Talz species, who inhabited both Alzoc III and Orto Plutonia. The Amendments' classification methods addressed everything from colonies that had "descended into barbarianism" to populations "seeded" by other species; examples of such species included the Arkanians and the pre-Republic Rakata. The Convention of Civilized Systems also held some significance in military matters, as exemplified when Republic Major Kendal Ozzel took the decree into account when he was captured by enemy forces on Khorm.
- "As an officer of the Grand Army of the Republic, I am not obliged to cooperate. Taking into account the Convention of Civilized Systems—"
- ―Major Kendal Ozzel, to his captor, Asajj Ventress
The Convention of Civilized Systems had been ratified by the Republic and put into effect by 22 BBY, the first year of the Clone Wars. The law act's classification methods for sentient species in multiple systems were added and addressed by the Arquata Station Amendments to the original bill. However, unlawful responses to the law act occurred when several individuals went on to exterminate previously undocumented and unidentified sentient species that were "found in inconvenient places," driving them to extinction before their level of sentience could be determined under the Convention of Civilized Systems. The killers then covered up the genocidal crimes to avoid detection and prosecution by the Republic. One such situation arose in 22 BBY, when members of the Talz species was found to inhabit the ice world Orto Plutonia, a presence that proved Pantoran scouts' original reports of the planet's barrenness of life to be incorrect. Following the Talz's attacks on the Republic's Glid Station and the Confederacy of Independent Systems' base on the world as a response to the species' aggravation from the amount of military activity on the planet, an investigation team led by Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker—accompanied by Chairman Chi Cho and Senator Riyo Chuchi, dignitaries from Orto Plutonia's moon of Pantora, which had previously laid legal claim to the icy planet—discovered the Talz on Orto Plutonia, who were led by Chieftain Thi-Sen.
Unable to quietly exterminate the Talz—and thereby swiftly end the threat they posed to his leadership—because of the presence of the Jedi, who were the acting Republic representatives on the world, Cho instead declared war on the Talz living there. In doing so, he intended to provoke a conflict that he hoped would leave the Talz colonists dead and therefore nullify their claim to Orto Plutonia and reinstate Pantora's control of the world. Cho himself claimed that the Talz were "little more than animals" and were not covered by the Convention of Civilized Systems, negating the involvement of Kenobi and Skywalker, who both objected to his aggressive course of action. However, Cho's assertions of the Talz's lack of sentience were not backed up by evidence, and he did not even allow the Talz to be tested for sentience in accordance with the Convention of Civilized Systems. Chuchi opposed Cho's claim that the Talz were non-sentient, but she was unable to prevent him from leading the dispatched forces of the Grand Army of the Republic into war with the Talz. Cho was eventually killed, and Chuchi stepped in on behalf of the Pantoran Assembly to establish peace with the Orto Plutonian Talz, ending the short war and leaving Orto Plutonia in control of the Talz.
Besides the bill of rights' role—or lack thereof—in the Orto Plutonia debacle, Republic Major Kendal Ozzel attempted to cite the Convention of Civilized Systems when he was captured by the Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress during the Battle of Khorm in response to her interrogation attempts to glean information on the Republic's battle plan. However, Ozzel's claims did little to prevent the unfazed Ventress from intensifying her questioning by unhesitatingly killing several of Ozzel's fellow clone trooper hostages.
- "These creatures are little more than animals. You can't lie to an animal. They can't be trusted."
- ―Chairman Chi Cho, on the Convention of Civilized Systems' coverage of the Talz
Though not discovered by the Republic, a few conflicts stemmed from the bill of rights in regards to sentient species. Following the decree's ratification, some individuals executed genocides of entire sentient species before they could even be identified under the Convention of Civilized Systems, unlawfully violating and contradicting the law act's purpose to grant sentient species the common rights of Republic citizens. Although Chairman Cho wished to do this when the Orto Plutonian Talz were discovered, he was unable to do so with Republic representatives there to witness the crime.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "The Pantoran Assembly's Chairman Cho thought Orto Plutonia's Talz were savages who didn't deserve the rights of sentient beings in Republic space—a claim Obi-Wan Kenobi knew wouldn't hold up under Republic law."
- ―An excerpt from The Official Episode Guide: Season 1
The Convention of Civilized Systems was first alluded to in "Trespass," an episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' first season, which aired in January 2009. Besides receiving another passing mention in In Service of the Republic, Part 1, the seventh issue of The Clone Wars comic series, the bill of rights itself was not expanded upon in detail until the release of Jason Fry's The Official Episode Guide: Season 1 in October 2009, which detailed the law act's structure and briefly recounted the role it would have played in "Trespass" had it been properly enforced.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Trespass" (First mentioned)
- The Clone Wars 7: In Service of the Republic, Part 1 (Mentioned only)