Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

"Rule of Law": Spain vs. the US

leave a comment »

Glenn Greenwald:

Scott Horton reports this morning that, in Spain, "prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates [John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Doug Feith and William Haynes] over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo."  Spain not only has the right under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture to prosecute foreign officials for torturing its citizens, but it — like the U.S. — has the affirmative obligation to do so. (Indeed, the Bush administration itself insisted just last year that the U.S. the right to criminally prosecute foreign officials for ordering acts of torture even in the absence of an accusation that any of the victims were American).

As Hilzoy argues, however, the primary obligation for these prosecutions lies with the country whose officials authorized the war crimes — the United States:

It is a requirement of law, the law that the Constitution requires Obama, as President, to faithfully execute.  He should not outsource his Constitutional obligations to Spain.

That the U.S. has the legal obligation under the U.S. Constitution, our own laws and international treaties to commence criminal investigations is simply undeniable.  That is just a fact. Yet it’s hard to overstate how far away we are from fulfilling our legal obligations to impose accountability on our own torturers and war criminals.

The barriers to these prosecutions are numerous, but one of the principal obstacles is that CIA Director Leon Panetta has been emphatically demanding that there be no investigations of any government officials whose conduct was declared legal by DOJ lawyers (i.e., the very individuals the Spanish are now investigating for war crimes).  And it’s not surprising that Panetta has taken this position given that at least two of his top deputies at the CIA are among those implicated, to one degree or another, in the torture regime, as John Sifton detailed earlier this month at The Daily Beast:  …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

14 April 2009 at 1:02 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: