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View Diary: Robert Blair: In Defense of Charles Taylor (19 comments)

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  •  Ummm....that's the enabling law for article 5 of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo

    the Convention Against Torture:

    5.1: Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
            1. When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
            2. When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
            3. When the victim was a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.

    5.1: Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article.

    You might think it's dumb, but you neglect to explain why.

    •  You're right...here are my reasons (0+ / 0-)

      --Because the US government, regardless of who's our president, wouldn't accept the prosecution of a US citizen abroad for torture committed in the United States.

      --Because it singles out torture for extraterritoriality while ignoring other crimes, including murder itself.

      --Because it actually weakens truly international justice, by setting up a handful of countries (by virtue of their own misplaced sense that they can dispense universal justice) as a substitute for something genuinely international.

      --Because it sets us up to acquit people (when we can't satisfy their rights under our Constitution to confront their accusers, gather exculpatory evidence, etc.  The US is a pretty bad place to try people if you want results.

      Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

      by Rich in PA on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 04:17:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In that case, you've misread both the CAT and the (0+ / 0-)

        statute.  The purpose is to hold signatories accountable for torture which occurs in regions they control, as well as to hold their own officials accountable.  This section - and the enabling statute - have nothing to do with "universal justice" per se, but the signatories do recognize that the crime is a violation of a fundamental human right to be free from torture, and thus agree to investigate crimes committed by citizens of other signatories when they are unable to extradite (as in the case of Canada and the EU which may no longer be able to extradite to the US, since we are known to torture).  That part of section 5 is a consequence of this:

        Article 3.1: No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

        Note that the CAT is an agreement between signatories, not signatories and non-signatories.  Thus it is not universal in any real sense, even though most nations have signed.

        Your other arguments seem odd:

        1. The treaty was created because of the inherently political nature of torture; by definition under statute and treaty, torture only includes official acts by the government ("under color of law").  It doesn't matter if the President doesn't like the results...although we see in reality that it does - and we've simply violated the treaty.  Also, acts which you & I would consider torture but are not committed under government authority are not covered by the statute or treaty.
        1. This treaty is about official torture, not the general act of murder.  There are other extradition treaties dealing with murder and other crimes.  However - if death results from torture, it can be prosecuted under the enabling statute (2340).  Such cases are capital crimes under US law.
        1. The law is bad because someone might be acquitted?  What kind of dictatorship would you prefer?  Or are you simply a Bush apologist who thinks that imprisoning people without charge indefinitely is a good idea?  But your concern is misplaced - we have a 100% success rate in USC 2340 cases (1/1).

        Finally, note that the prosecution of Chuckie Taylor was absolutely, 100% legitimate under the treaty and domestic law.  He's a US citizen, and committed these acts as a government official.  Unfortunately he's black...we have a different standard for our white torturers.

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