Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Where's the Crime?"

Saddam Hussein has admitted ordering the trials of Shiites in Dujail as well as the razing of their farms as punishment for an attempt on his life in 1982. But, he is arguing that as the sovereign ruler of Iraq, he had the right to do so. Of course, to a degree, this is a solid defense. Under the law of sovereign immunity, a political ruler has the right to make and enforce law; even if it disagrees with western liberal standards. This is the purpose of the right of sovereignty; to prevent interference by foreign powers in the domestic affairs of a state. Milosevic is making a similar defense in The Hague, arguing that his actions in Kosovo were necessary to quell an insurrection and preserve the territorial integrity of Serbia.

How this gets sorted out is a matter for the Iraqi courts. But it is not a defense to be dismissed easily. Just another reason I'm skeptical of the efficacy of international law.

No comments: