Sunday, November 20, 2005

The birth of international justice

Sixty years ago today, international justice was born, with the beginning of the first war crimes trial at Nuremberg. Twenty-four Nazi leaders were tried on various charges, from waging a war of aggression to crimes against humanity. Nineteen were found guilty, three were acquitted, one was declared medically unfit to stand trial and one committed suicide before the trial's end. Twelve of the guilty were sentenced to death. The trial gave us the Nuremberg Principles defining war crimes in international law, and the precedent that "only following orders" is no defence.

Since then, we've established war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Cambodia, as well as a permanant International Criminal Court to try future crimes. And one day, hopefully, the criminals responsible for waging a war of aggression on Iraq which has killed (to date) at lest 30,000 innocent civilians will be dragged before it and punished.


You wouldn't need to invade the U.S. to arrest Bush & crew. You'd only need to wait for them to enter a country that has an inkling of self-respect and is signed up to the Declaration of Human Rights, etc. You never know. I don't know if U.S. politics would be the biggest stumbling block to trying these people, but the simple fact that the wealthy and powerful tend to look out for the wealthy and the powerful. The first job is to strip them as much as possible of any respect and power they hold. Once they're not powerful or respected then it's game on.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/21/2005 02:00:00 PM

"Who will put the bell on the cat?" asked the mice, looking at each other. War crimes tribunals are the means by which the winners of a war punish the losers. So by definition, senior members of a US administration aren't going to be in front of one any time soon.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 11/22/2005 12:17:00 AM

Well you're not wrong there Psycho Milt, but crazier things have happened.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2005 01:33:00 PM