Sunday, April 6, 2008

From Impeachment to War Crimes: The New Revenge Against BushCo

The Green Light

The radical left failed miserably in its half-decade campaign to impeach top officials in the Bush administration.

Bush-bashers haven't given up hopes of revenge, of course, and the latest controversy over the "
torture memos" has given new impetus for legal action against members of the hated Bush/Cheney regime.

Crooks and Liars is positively ejaculatory over the suggestion by Andrew Sullivan that principals in the torture controversy should be tried as war criminals (via Memeorandum).

The left's dizzying rush of vengeful palpitations results not just from the Justice Department's release of the memos this week, but by the war crimes journalism of Phillippe Sands, who has a new full-length article on the administration's policy developments on coercive interrogations at Vanity Fair, "
The Green Light." It's a long and technically detailed article, but the conclusion is red meat for radical left Bush-bashers seeking their tons of administration flesh:

Those responsible for the interrogation of Detainee 063 face a real risk of investigation if they set foot outside the United States. Article 4 of the torture convention criminalizes “complicity” or “participation” in torture, and the same principle governs violations of Common Article 3.

It would be wrong to consider the prospect of legal jeopardy unlikely. I remember sitting in the House of Lords during the landmark Pinochet case, back in 1999—in which a prosecutor was seeking the extradition to Spain of the former Chilean head of state for torture and other international crimes—and being told by one of his key advisers that they had never expected the torture convention to lead to the former president of Chile’s loss of legal immunity. In my efforts to get to the heart of this story, and its possible consequences, I visited a judge and a prosecutor in a major European city, and guided them through all the materials pertaining to the Guantánamo case. The judge and prosecutor were particularly struck by the immunity from prosecution provided by the Military Commissions Act. “That is very stupid,” said the prosecutor, explaining that it would make it much easier for investigators outside the United States to argue that possible war crimes would never be addressed by the justice system in the home country—one of the trip wires enabling foreign courts to intervene. For some of those involved in the Guantánamo decisions, prudence may well dictate a more cautious approach to international travel. And for some the future may hold a tap on the shoulder.

“It’s a matter of time,” the judge [interviewed for this story] observed. “These things take time.” As I gathered my papers, he looked up and said, “And then something unexpected happens, when one of these lawyers travels to the wrong place.”

Sands is a lawyer and professor of international law based in Britain (with a new book forthcoming, Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values). His reporting feeds the agenda of the global human rights movement, which has been building an international regime to enforce global justice in supranational courts of universal jurisdiction.

Actually, this latest controversy over the torture memos is part and parcel to the radical left's agenda of worldwide judicial tyranny, which is explained by Henry Kissinger at Foreign Affairs:

In less than a decade, an unprecedented movement has emerged to submit international politics to judicial procedures. It has spread with extraordinary speed and has not been subjected to systematic debate, partly because of the intimidating passion of its advocates. To be sure, human rights violations, war crimes, genocide, and torture have so disgraced the modern age and in such a variety of places that the effort to interpose legal norms to prevent or punish such outrages does credit to its advocates. The danger lies in pushing the effort to extremes that risk substituting the tyranny of judges for that of governments; historically, the dictatorship of the virtuous has often led to inquisitions and even witch-hunts.

The doctrine of universal jurisdiction asserts that some crimes are so heinous that their perpetrators should not escape justice by invoking doctrines of sovereign immunity or the sacrosanct nature of national frontiers. Two specific approaches to achieve this goal have emerged recently. The first seeks to apply the procedures of domestic criminal justice to violations of universal standards, some of which are embodied in United Nations conventions, by authorizing national prosecutors to bring offenders into their jurisdictions through extradition from third countries. The second approach is the International Criminal Court (ICC), the founding treaty for which was created by a conference in Rome in July 1998 and signed by 95 states, including most European countries....

THE IDEOLOGICAL supporters of universal jurisdiction also provide much of the intellectual compass for the emerging International Criminal Court. Their goal is to criminalize certain types of military and political actions and thereby bring about a more humane conduct of international relations....

The advocates of universal jurisdiction argue that the state is the basic cause of war and cannot be trusted to deliver justice. If law replaced politics, peace and justice would prevail. But even a cursory examination of history shows that there is no evidence to support such a theory. The role of the statesman is to choose the best option when seeking to advance peace and justice, realizing that there is frequently a tension between the two and that any reconciliation is likely to be partial. The choice, however, is not simply between universal and national jurisdictions.

The advocates Kissinger refers to are the leaders of such groups like After Downing Street and World Can't Wait.

These groups have vowed to "to send Bush, Cheney and the rest of those fascists packing."

This week's controversy over the torture memos, timed pefectly with Sands' legal manifesto, feeds the fires of radicals trying to do just that, with a war crimes tribunal the immediate destination.

Photo Credit: Vanity Fair